Neighbourhood watch group hopes to create a network of crime fighters
Barking and Dagenham’s latest neighbourhood watch group hopes to utilise the powers of technology in a bid to create a network of crime fighters.
Marks Gate Neighbourhood Watch, which was originally formed in the 1980s, is undergoing a 21st century reboot thanks to new online crime alert system called Online Watch Link (OWL).
The free service allows people to sign-up using their email or phone number and receive instant crime alerts, join in virtual police surgeries or see up-to-date fraud warnings.
OWL, which has national police backing, is already operating in several London boroughs including Brent, Barnet, Redbridge, and Tower Hamlets.
By keeping an eye out for each other and showing a little bit of neighbourliness, we can create a safer neighbourhood for everyone.
Diane Worbey, the lead coordinator for the newly relaunched neighbourhood watch group, said: “This is a modern twist on the old format of being in a neighbourhood watch. It isn’t about being vigilantes but about sharing information and creating a network of friends and neighbours who care about their community.
“By keeping an eye out for each other and showing a little bit of neighbourliness, we can create a safer neighbourhood for everyone.”
The system can be tailored to alert people about issues happening in specific streets, meaning recipients will only receive relevant information.
Everyone can play their part in improving the area, and I hope lots of local residents take the opportunity to get involved and help each other feel safer in their neighbourhood.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety, said: “We have never been more connected than we have now and in this age of ‘fake news’, I think it is fantastic there is a tool where people get information sent directly to them that is relevant to where they live and from a trusted source.
“Everyone can play their part in improving the area, and I hope lots of local residents take the opportunity to get involved and help each other feel safer in their neighbourhood.”
The council is funding the OWL digital service in partnership with the Metropolitan Police.
The group will host its first meeting on Thursday, 18 July at 7pm at the Marks Gate Community Centre, Rose Lane.
Representatives from the Metropolitan Police as well as councillors will be there to discuss the relaunched groups aims. People are encouraged to come along, sign-up to OWL and hear more about how they can get involved.