By Bambi Gordon, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Victoria
When visiting local communities, particularly in new estates, I’m often asked if there is value in paying for a private security firm to do nightly patrols to prevent crimes happening.
A recent article in the Herald Sun, “Melbourne crime: Private security firms patrol streets to stop residential burglaries” highlighted the use of private security patrols in some residential areas across Melbourne, including housing estates in the north-west. It was disappointing on a number of levels.
When discussing residential security patrols, there are some important things to consider:
The article referred to a woman in a security-patrolled estate whose had items stolen from her car outside her home. And that’s not surprising. The security car doesn’t park outside a single house – by nature they are mobile around the estate. A crook can wait until the patrol passes by and will then have time to check for unlocked cars or houses.
In this instance the victim had also left items – including a purse – in the car which will have been a temptation to the crook.
We know that in some other countries Neighbourhood Watch groups form their own street-based patrols. Again – this adds to people’s fear and anxiety, and it puts those members at risk of being physically hurt. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen here.
If you live in an area where there has been an increase in crime or believe that your estate is vulnerable to thefts and break-ins, there are simple, inexpensive things that you can do to reduce the risk of it happening to you:
By all means, if a group of neighbours wants to fund private patrols for extra peace of mind, do so. But remember that the moment the patrol leaves your street, you are no longer protected – unless you remove every opportunity. Patrols can be one tactic in a suite of crime prevention measures. But they’re not the only solution.
Neighbourhood Watch Victoria acknowledges the 38 mobs, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live, and gather as employees and volunteers. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
At Neighbourhood Watch, we believe everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome. We are committed to ensuring diversity, inclusion and equity are embedded throughout our organisation – in the work we do, the services we deliver and among our staff, volunteers, and the communities we work with.