On 21 & 22 May 2021 the NHWA International conference was held at Sea World on the Gold Coast in Queensland. Five members from Tasmania joined with their NHW counterparts from every other state and territory in Australia to share initiatives and be inspired by the commitment and enthusiasm of like-minded people from far and wide. As you can see, it was all work and no play!
It was significant that the Prime Minister wrote a letter of welcome and support; Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews gave a personal address; and the conference was formally opened by the Mayor Tom Tate from the City of the Gold Coast. Clearly, we are a brand that is well known, valued, and supported by our political leaders and this is but another reason to have pride in who we are.
Although impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 risks, members who could not be there in person joined in from online connections and hubs which proved the value of modern technology for real time engagement. This was a fabulous event with lots of excellent presenters providing news and evidence that supported the importance and value of Neighbourhood Watch across the globe!
Each Monthly Bulletin will provide a summary of one of the conference presentations so that we can all benefit from the ideas, evidence, and initiatives that those present had the opportunity to hear first-hand. Suffice to say that the conference was such a success that a conversation has already started about how other conference arrangements might be a future feature.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Professor Lorraine Mazerolle. Lorraine is a highly qualified and well-respected academic researcher and criminologist. The subject of her presentation was Does Neighbourhood Watch Work? Of course, the answer is yes – but Lorraine qualifies this affirmation with well-researched and accepted evidence, drawn from contemporary first-hand investigations and supported by extensive international evaluations that have been published across recent decades.
The most significant fact presented from the research was that the existence of Neighbourhood Watch in an area can influence the reduction of crime from between 16% to 26%. This is outstanding data and all Neighbourhood Watch members are encouraged to remember these figures for when you are challenged about the worth of NHW or better still, when you are lobbying a politician, potential sponsor or applying for a grant to help with some local activity.
A second aspect of Lorraine’s presentation, that was reinforced by many other speakers throughout the conference, was the value of the social contact, the engagement and the inter-personal connections that come from being involved with NHW – and/or being a beneficiary of a NHW event or project.
A motto used by NHW Tasmania is Good Neighbours Create Safer Communities and it was heartening to hear from so many experts that it’s true! Events like Cuppa with a Cop do have a number of benefits, over and above getting a free cup of coffee! Ostensibly they enable community engagement with the police in a social setting – but they also facilitate other social connections and indirectly help to reduce anxiety, fears and feelings of isolation and loneliness. So never underestimate the value of a simple Cuppa.
Crime Stoppers Tasmania (CST) launched Crime Stoppers Week for Tasmania on Monday, 31 May 21. The event also celebrated the launch of their new website which readers are invited to view at this link: https://www.crimestopperstas.com.au/. It is significant that CST is looking to build awareness about what to report with tips about the extra or specific information that can make a big difference to the value of any subsequent investigation. The CST message is, It helps if you tell us how you got the info; How you know it’s true; and as much detail as possible.
The focus of Crime Stoppers Week this year is information about people trafficking cannabis and ice in Tasmania. All reports can be made anonymously and with guaranteed confidentiality, either by phone on 1800 333 000 or by email at https://www.crimestopperstas.com.au/support-us/report-a-crime/.
And just to reinforce the value of neighbour awareness, the following extract is from an April crime report in one of our zones:
This house was entered whilst the owner was away. However, a neighbour noticed a suspicious male hanging around the house and called police. Due to this call, police attended and apprehended the male offender who had in fact used a spade located in the back yard of the residence to break a window and enter the house and take a backpack.
We all know members of Neighbourhood Watch in Tasmania who make the effort to ensure Neighbourhood Watch works in their communities. Unfortunately, the State Board does not personally know all our members, and so it is easy for those deserving of recognition to go unrewarded. Some people have been leaders of their group for decades and others have regularly volunteered to coordinate or help out at events. They won’t receive the kudos they deserve unless others are prepared to submit their names along with the reasons why they should be formally recognized with an award.
There are three Neighbourhood Watch Awards:
More information about the Honours and Awards Policy.
Nominations must be received by 30 June each year so that recipients can be advised by 30 September and the Awards bestowed at the Annual General Meeting each November. There is no set format for nominations to be made and ideally, the information should be sent in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we all leave it to someone else to do – it will never happen!
Did you know there are almost 29 million pets in Australia today – more than our human population of 25 million people? Three in five Australian households – or 5.9 million in total – have a pet. There are five million pet dogs in Australia to be found in 40% of homes. The point is that no matter where we live in Tasmania there will be people who own and walk dogs in our neighbourhood. These people may not be members of the local NHW – but they do want their community to be safe and crime free.
Dog walkers know their neighbourhood, they know what is the norm, and they know when things are out of place. A Dogs on Patrol event is to raise awareness amongst our dog walkers to be conscientious when they see things out of place or not quite right to do or say something so it can be investigated. It can be simple things like an unemptied mailbox, garbage bin left on the street, gate or garage door left open – you get the drift.
There needs to be Project Coordinator with a volunteer or two to help.
A very warm welcome to the latest addition to the Tasmanian Neighbourhood Watch family. Saturday, 22 May 21 saw the launch of the Montrose and Surrounds Neighbourhod Watch with a community event on the shores of the Derwent River at the Montrose Foreshore Community Park. What a great venue with lovely autumn weather to boot. The event was assisted with a grant from Relationships Australia, sponsors of Neighbour Day, and support from Tassie Digital
Great to see representatives of the Glenorchy City Council and Tasmania Police also at the event to provide support and encouragement. Potential Dogs on Patrol in the photo have not gone unnoticed!
Research has shown that a good quality alarm system is the most effective form of home security. However, it is not always necessary to spend large amounts of money – simple changes to make your house look occupied can be an effective deterrent to would be intruders. A conscientious check of your home security and possessions can be a good start to developing a plan to make improvements.
Things you might think about are:
Neighbourhood Watch Tasmania Inc has vacancies on its Board for hands-on Directors. If you would like some more information, make a no-obligation free call to 0400 967 236 to get the low down!
20 June World Refugee Day
21 July CWAC at Banjos, Shoreline Plaza, Howrah
9 September RUOK Day
6 October Coffee with a Cop Day
20 November NHWT AGM
Download your Check in TAS app which is now mandatory when visiting any facility in Tasmania. It is easy to download and easy to use. https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/check-in-tas.
Anyone entering Tasmania, including returning residents, must register their travel details each time they enter the state. Two systems are currently in use.
Tas e-Travel is being updated so travellers can create a login account with an email and password that can be reused for future travel. If you don’t have an email address you will still be able to register using a written form when each time you enter Tasmania.
Yours in Neighbourhood Watch
Peter Edwards, President
Good Neighbours Create Safer Communities
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