Neighbourhood Watch has proven to be one of the most efficient ways to decrease and prevent crimes in neighbourhoods. The traditional way of working is starting to get old fashioned and time consuming. By using phone chains, letters and talking, the thieves often get the time and opportunity to get away. In today’s modern society there are computers and several mobile phones in almost every home. Since the criminals often use these too when they prepare for break-ins it should be a possibility to use it for the opposite as well. Through a virtual neighbourhood watch those living in the area can share information in different medias with everybody at the same time. Those living in the area can see where and when crimes are committed. This is also beneficial to the police since it is based on information and sightings from the people in the neighbourhood.
Today there are several different types of media to use for your Virtual Neighbourhood Watch. The easiest is to use social medias that are already out there, like Facebook. On Facebook you can create a closed group where you invite people living in the neighbourhood to join. When the invitation has been accepted the person can post and read what others in the group has posted. Facebook is created to make it easy on you to handle the settings depending on what you want a notice and reminder about. For example, when it comes to a group on Neighbourhood Watch it can be useful to have alerts on, so that you will get a message when someone posts in the group and therefor you won´t miss out on important information about the neighbourhood. Since it is a simple solution and most people have Facebook it is a good and simple solution. Even though it is a good and simple solution there are a lot of pitfalls since it is not fully secure and qualified. There are some risks with this kind of group where the biggest risk is overload of information. It will be quite enough with just one or two people abusing this group for the idea to lose credibility. As an example, is the family that has a cat with a tendency to run away frequently. After this cat has been advertised for a couple of times there is a risk that other members stop caring about posts in the groups and therefor is in the risk to miss out if something important needs to be informed. Another example where a group loses credibility is when there is advertising on cake sales and flee markets for school trips or such. An easy way to come to terms with this kind of problems is to have an administrator that harshly takes away this kind of posts and excludes people that won´t follow the rules. The other risk with these virtual neighbourhood watch groups are that you can´t reach those that aren´t on Facebook and because of that can´t see and spread the information.
Applications and geographical information systems
Software is developed as we speak. New ones come all the time with different areas of use and different target groups. In the market there are a lot of map applications to use for spreading information on different events and happenings. Several companies profiled in security uses Google Maps where Neighbourhood Watch groups can add information and happenings for a specific area. In these cases, the local police can be added as followers to give them more chances to solve crimes.