Hertfordshire’s record breaking Neighbourhood Watch has secured funding for another four years from the Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd.
More than 150,000 residents and business already signed up, it has the most members of any similar scheme in the country.
HertsWatch, the voluntary committee which co-ordinates Neighbourhood Watch activity in Hertfordshire, has been awarded £20,000 for the next four years to carry on and expand its work.
The scheme also enables the sharing of policing alerts and crime prevention advice, with members being informed about the latest crimes and scams in their area via the OWL (Online Watch Link) communication system.
Mr Lloyd said: “Neighbourhood Watch has been a tremendous success in preventing crime and stopping people becoming victims.
“It is based on the simple idea that everyone can make their community more secure by looking out for their neighbours, keeping an eye on their homes while they are away and receiving and sharing crime prevention advice.
“Neighbourhood Watch is a tool used by an ever-increasing number of people in Hertfordshire. I have always strongly believed in public participation for crime prevention and community safety, and the success of the scheme here proves people want to help.
“This funding will give the scheme stability, enable it grow stronger and reach out to those parts of the community that are presently under represented.”
HertsWatch also supports other watch schemes, including Business Watch, Dog Watch and Rural Watch.
A particular success has been Senior Watch, which helps to protect Hertfordshire’s older residents, by educating them about phone and online fraud.
With the new funding HertsWatch is looking to set up initiatives to extend its reach to young people, plus increase membership in areas including Stevenage, Watford and North Herts.
Chair of Herts Watch, which oversees the county’s watch schemes, Sue Thompson, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding from the PCC which will enable us to continue to help keep residents safe across Hertfordshire.
"We send dozens of emails every week via OWL (Online Watch Link www.owl.co.uk) letting people know about a range of topics including burglaries in their local area with practical crime prevention advice, scams and missing people.
"We have a number of volunteers who work tirelessly to raise awareness, prevent crime and improve community spirit in villages, towns and cities to deter criminals. There’s no better time to join the 150,000 Hertfordshire homes already reaping the benefits of being on OWL.”
To join Neighbourhood Watch, or find out more about OWL, please visit www.herts.police.uk or www.owl.co.uk or contact your Safer Neighbourhood Team by calling 101.