NEIGHBOURHOOD Watch Association Tameside (NWAT), which has existed for barely 18 months, has proved to be a resounding success.
And with the nationwide Neighbourhood Watch Awareness Week taking place between June 7 and 13, it is an opportunity to reinforce the work they do.
Tony Moran, the Tameside borough lead on Greater Manchester Neighbourhood Watch, explained the many local groups are having a positive effect on communities.
Tony, who formed the Denton West Town Lane South group, said: “Neighbourhood Watch is no longer simply about protecting property and possessions.
“It is about looking after the vulnerable, elderly and people with illnesses like dementia and building a community spirit.
“It is also about being a good neighbour, something particularly important at this time.”
Tony added local groups are using social media proactively to spread their message and make it hot for criminals.
He continued: “Many of the local groups have Twitter and Facebook accounts and have formed WhatsApp groups which are helpful tools in the fight against crime, allowing residents to alert one another about what’s going on.
“Some of the local PCSOs have signed up to the WhatsApp groups so they can see what is happening in those neighbourhoods.”
Lockdown has meant NWAT, which evolved from the old Home Watch, had to cancel a seminar to mark the launch of awareness week.
It was to be held at Oaklands Hall, Hyde, where speakers had been booked to talk about cybercrime and local terrorism.
Tony added a similar previous seminar at Dukinfeld Town Hall attracted more than 100 visitors.
Membership of NWAT continues to grow with new Neighbourhood Watch groups regularly being formed in the borough.
They work in partnership with Tameside police and Tameside Council’s neighbourhood officers.
With the increase of cybercrime, car key data scanning and identity fraud, NWAT offers practical advice and support to combat this new crime wave.
Tony added building a relationship with local beat officers and PCSOs is key to crime prevention and gathering criminal intelligence.
During the Covid-19 self-isolation lockdown NWAT groups have shown true community spirit donating food hampers, collecting shopping, supporting the Calling Tree initiative, providing self-isolation newsletters, identifying Dementia Friends support groups and, most importantly, building friendships.