Our story

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria began in 1983 as a partnership between the community and police to reduce crime and make our neighbourhoods safer.

Residential burglaries across Victoria

Making a real difference

Research into the residential burglary rate records showed that it had gone up every year to 1984 where it reached 51,090. There has not been a year since then it has been that high. We maintain the intervention of Neighbourhood Watch changed the residential burglary rate permanently.
Chris Coster
Former Chief Inspector with Victoria Police


Planning starts

Victoria Police hold a planning meeting in November to look at ways to curb the spiralling residential burglary rate in Victoria. A taskforce is set up to introduce a local version of the “Home Watch” program which was successfully trialled in the UK earlier in the year. They plan to launch a pilot project in the Frankston area in mid-1983.


Pilot program begins

Victoria Police call a public meeting at Kananook in June to gauge local interest in setting up a pilot Neighbourhood Watch program. A week later the first NHW Zone Leaders meeting is held at Frankston, launching the very first NHW group in Victoria. In July, the first NHW logo is unveiled – the famous 4 heads logo which is still used nationally today and in September “Garden State” green is adopted as the official colour. Operation Identification is launched as the first NHW program in August – marking valuables with your driver’s licence number.

Read Chris Coster’s early memories


Victorian launch

In March, Chief Commissioner Mick Miller and Police Minister Race Matthews officially launch Neighbourhood Watch in 6 districts across Melbourne as a community-based crime prevention program involving the community and police working in partnership.

Watch Mick Miller talk about Neighbourhood Watch

View here


First State Chairman

The first State Committee meeting is held at William Street Police Headquarters in January with Tom Newman, Chair of the very first group NHW Kananook, being elected our first State Chair. A rural version of the Neighbourhood Watch program is piloted around Seymour. In October, the first State Seminar is held at the Hilton Hotel with 400 police and community NHW representatives attending.

Read Tom Newman's recollections


First Neighbourhood Watch town

Cobram is declared Victoria’s first Neighbourhood Watch town in January 1991, it being completely covered by Neighbourhood Watch areas in just 4 years. A year later, Trentham becomes the 1,000th NHW area launched in Victoria.


Mr Squiggle joins NHW

The first Mark It March Day is held, with NHW groups marking 4,795 items at 103 sites around Victoria, including a baptismal font. “Mr Squiggle” even offers to have his rocket marked for identification. NHW receives the VicSafe Community Safety and Crime Prevention Award for Partnerships and Volunteer Initiatives.


Going high tech

At the Royal Melbourne Show in September 5,000 people try out the new NHW Virtual House – an interactive computer program where people can tour a typical home using 360-degree photos. The Virtual house later earns a National Crime and Violence Prevention Award for Major Technological Innovation and Design. In December, the first dedicated Neighbourhood Website is launched – it receives 16,504 visits in its first year.

Check out our first website


Police scale back involvement

After a restructure within Victoria Police, direct police member involvement in local Neighbourhood Watch programs drops dramatically as resources are redirected. The reduced police support leads to many for local NHW groups across Victoria closing.


An independent charity

After removing all sworn officers from the Neighbourhood Watch program, Victoria Police develops a policy statement that NHW needs to adapt to become a standalone organisation but remain a key Victoria Police partner. Neighbourhood Watch is registered as an independent charity for the first time.


A new era

A renewal of Neighbourhood Watch Victoria gets underway, with a new CEO, guaranteed State Government funding and a brand refresh for the first time in over 3 decades. The 4 heads logo stays, but is tweaked, with a contemporary teal green and a new tagline, “Let’s watch out for each other”. We reaffirm our partnership with Victoria Police.

Watch our 2017 Neighbourhood Watch Week video.

View here


New flagship programs

How Safe Is My Place is launched in October – an Australia-first interactive online quiz which provides users with customised reports to improve their home security. In November, the Building Community Together program is launched in new housing estates – a partnership with property developers. Additional government funding enables the State Office to expand to 4 staff.

Take the How Safe Is My House quiz


The first NHW app

The first-ever NHW app is launched in April – an augmented reality experience where people can take a virtual tour of a house and spot the security risks. A farm version of the successful How Safe Is My Place quiz is launched in October and in December, Lionel the NHW Van joins the team.

Download the app


Happy 40th Anniversary

On 15 June 2023, NHW celebrates its 40th Birthday with an afternoon tea at the RACV Club in the Melbourne CBD.


View our celebrations
Connect With Us

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.