Neighbourhood Watch is perhaps the most obvious example, but we are always out and about offering advice and practical help and working with partners, like the police or fire brigade to residents.
A lesser known example is AlertBox, which was relatively recently installed in Northcote Road. The system is remarkably simple, a box with a few buttons that can be used to pass custom alerts to neighbouring shops with a linked unit. These can range from a low-level alert (perhaps a few suspicious people loitering) to a request for immediate help.
The AlertBoxes went in a series of smaller retailers on Northcote Road a few months ago and the manufacturer shared their recent appraisal with me. It’s been a clear success – 100% of people who had to use the box had a response from neighbouring shops. 91% felt it had reduced fear of isolation and 80% felt it had reduced fear of anti-social behaviour.
But most importantly 89% felt it had improved their relationship with neighbouring retailers and 93% felt it had improved their relationship with the police.
A real example of how, in many cases, life massive improvements are possible not with the state providing the solution, but in enabling people to provide the solution – in this case a contribution to the cost and some administrative work in setting it up. A fantastic result for everyone concerned.