On 2nd December, the Snug Harbour Neighbourhood Watch Committee and residents met with Mr. Joey Hew, MLA, and Community Beat Officer PC Jonathan Kern at the entrance to Snug Harbour to inaugurate four new Neighbourhood Watch signs and reflect on just over six months of results since the inception of the neighbourhood watch in May 2018.
“The neighbourhood watch has had a very positive effect since we formed last May,” said Stephen Symons, Coordinator of the Watch Committee. “We formed, with the assistance of the RCIPS, in response to a number of burglaries. Neighbours were not aware of the burglaries taking place. People were very concerned when they heard about it. We had a great showing at the initial community meeting, and from there people volunteered to be on the Committee. The WhatsApp groups and email circulation list grew with people letting one another know and requesting to be added. To me the watch has been a real success. Personally, it seems that people feel much safer now knowing their neighbours are looking out for them."
Last April 13 burglaries occurred in Snug Harbour, with another three occurring in May. A man was arrested charged for two of the burglaries in May and is currently on remand, as a result of community efforts and thorough detective work by the Criminal Investigation Department. Since that time no burglaries in the neighbourhood have been reported.
“While our police response can explain some of the drop in crime in the area, it cannot account for all of it,” observed PC Jonathan Kern, the community beat officer for Beat 9 – Seven Mile Beach South – in which Snug Harbour is located. “The Neighbourhood Watch has really had an impact. The residents are active and the Committee extremely focused. They have launched Whatsapp discussion and alerts groups, which I also monitor, and residents throughout the neighbourhood are in close contact about anything that looks suspicious, or just common problems, like roaming dogs. They are quite organized.
This has very much been a community effort, by the residents, the police, Mr. Joey Hew, MLA, and other partner agencies such as the NRA & CUC. The positive results of taking a collaborative approach to owning and solving our problems are evident.”
Since its launch, the Neighbourhood Watch Group has not only fostered more communication and attention to suspicious activity in the area, it has also taken proactive steps to prevent crime and create a safer environment. It reached out to MLA Hew, the CUC and NRA, to address lighting and street safety in the neighbourhood. A few months ago an additional light pole was installed at the entrance to the neighbourhood, and a speed bump was also placed on a stretch of road where residents noticed speeding. On Sunday the Committee gathered at the base of the new light pole under one of the new Neighbourhood Watch signs.
MLA Hew joined the residents on Sunday for the hanging of the new signs. “I would like to congratulate the Snug Harbour residents for their efforts in putting together a very active and successful neighbourhood watch,” he said. “Your results are evidence of the success you can have when the RCIPS, Government, and residents work together for a safer community.”
“We’re grateful to the RCIPS (especially PC Kern our Community Officer), MLA Hew, CUC and the government departments for being responsive and helpful,” continued Mr. Symons, “I would also personally like to thank the committee and all the people in the community who have made the watch a success. It is really everyone in the Community that have an interest in the watch that make it work. We are the eyes and ears for one another. We know the community and know when something seems suspicious and we share that information with one another. When required we can alert our Community Officer and he can check into it. For it to work and be effective the community must get on board and own it and we have done that in Snug Harbour.”
For some, the formation of the Watch has had benefits beyond the crime drop or even better general safety. Lynne Firth, a resident of the neighbourhood observed, “To see the success of our Neighbourhood Watch has made me realize how important such an initiative is. Not only do we keep a closer eye on activity in our area; we have also got to know our neighbours better, creating a sense of community.”
Anyone interested in information about how to launch a neighbourhood watch should contact the Community Policing Department at 949-4222, or contact their beat officer through the RCIPS website at http://www.rcips.ky/community/.