Connect Up

What We Do
Connect Up

A program about preventing crime and connecting with your neighbours in high-rise residential towers.

What is Connect Up?

Connect Up is a program run by Safety Alliance Victoria which aims to educate and connect neighbours in high-rise residential towers, to prevent crime, help residents feel safer and build vertical neighbourhoods.

The program involves police, Neighbourhood Watch and other stakeholders working with owners corporations, councils, body corporates, residents, residents groups and property developers, to prevent crime and build community within the residential tower.

It began as a pilot program which ran across 8 residential towers in the Melbourne CBD and Doncaster between 2021 and 2023. Since then it has been introduced in a further 2 apartment buildings in the City of Manningham.

Connect Up Program has now concluded.

NHW and Connect Up Partners have produced a report that is available for property developers, councils and strata managers to share what the Connect Up Program achieved (and provide some guidance on how those organisations can run a similar program in the future).

The outcome of the Connect Up program, NHW has developed a free and comprehensive online resource for all Victorian residents of medium density and high rise communities, How Safe is My Apartment, to assist those residents be informed as to how to prevent crime in their home and their building which can be found here.

Who is Safety Alliance Victoria?

Safety Alliance Victoria is a partnership between Victoria Police, Neighbourhood Watch Victoria, Crime Stoppers Victoria, RACV and Federation University.

The Alliance provides a collaborative and innovative approach to crime prevention, specifically aimed at reducing residential burglaries.

What does the program involve? 

A high-rise residential setting presents its own series of challenges and demands when it comes to creating a neighbourhood and preventing crime.

Through a series of surveys, activities and information campaigns, the Connect Up Pilot Program looked at the existing needs and challenges that building managers and residents faced, trialled different approaches and then developed recommendations for how the challenges can be addressed in the future.

Preventing crime at residential towers

The Connect Up pilot program final report contained several key recommendations to help prevent crime in and around residential towers. These included:

  1. Provide physical space for storage cage lockers.
  2. Implement innovative local environmental approaches such as overt crime prevention signage at strategic locations.
  3. Ensure mail rooms have access control.
  4. Victoria Police consider specific policing operations for surrounding areas and keep residents informed of their actions.
  5. CPTED principles are applied as part of planning of residential towers and a CPTED audit conducted on existing towers.
  6. Further research be conducted into the issues arising from short-term accommodation rentals and a communication strategy be developed around complaint mechanisms.

Read the summary report

Future Connect Up projects 

We encourage stakeholders to consider replicating the Connect Up project to advance our learnings. Such a program needs:

  • A strong partnership from the outset involving a variety of stakeholders, with each making clear their desired motivations and outcomes.
  • Resources directed to online forums, eye-catching posters & signage in public spaces, face-to-face engagement and providing information via established building-specific networking gorups, rather than doing letterbox drops.
  • A variety of social-cohesion-building measures to be considered, developed and implemented, eg: trivia nights, Coffee With A Cop, a residents’ Whats App group, a tower Neighbourhood Watch group.

We also recommend a 3-phase program that includes:

  • Phase 1: Forum and pre-survey
  • Phase 2: Implement interventions and follow-up forum and survey
  • Phase 3: Final survey

Download the Connect Up presentation (81mb)

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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.