WHAT YOU CAN ACHIEVE?
You can do what we have done, you can set up and promote your own network starting with a few clicks on your phone. You will gain your own rewards for yourself and your neighbours. Remember, it doesn’t have to be big to work, it just needs to be active. We cannot prevent all crime, but we know where every bad boy lives on our estate, and they are watched and mentioned if out and about. The teenagers dealing drugs near the shops have gone and so have vehicle crime (they are related). Bannerbrook now has more concerns over charity collectors knocking doors after 8pm. They have no idea how the work against their cause, when 20 people are online moaning about them!!
Large gangs of local children seem to gather from other estates, but we are now addressing this with new ideas to identify them.
Local shops seem to suffer (as all do) but now it is often from organised shoplifting gangs or children sent in from their parents cars hidden around the corner, to run out and drive away with massive baskets of shopping. YES, REALLY!
This is in reality for the large retail chain that owns one shop to address, with proper security personnel, as their staff’s safety is their legal responsibility. To sit in a room with 100’s of people , Police and Councillors and say ‘you should protect our shop because we don’t want to spend the money” will end them up in court when something unthinkable happens.
We have included all local shops in the network and do also police areas outside them as it our estate too. One member literally ran a ‘cashpoint beggar’ and his mate off the estate in their car and chased them up the road once. Postings and photos of any of these dodgy characters are shared immediately and they do not tend stick around long when shop keepers look out or someone challenges them! We do not exactly condone this, but after a crimewave has hit your estate, some people can get quite ‘over enthusiastic’ if they chance across someone ‘disturbing the peace’.
We all know to have our phone cameras ready to take pictures or video secretly and then you can, quite literally, post a notice as you walk away. You don’t need to engage or provoke them, or even let them know the phone in your hand is videoing them. This provides descriptions and actual evidence instantly. Why not? It’s there in your pocket and a good network can relay good solid information to the police if necessary. Every one reading this should prime their family members to get your phone and secretly photo or video anything they see as suspicious or threatening. It can do no harm, but could do a lot of good if needed.
IS THERE A DOWNSIDE?
I haven’t found one yet, except my wife thinks I put too much into it. In reality I work in the back ground, keep a low profile and havemade loads of new mates who drag me down the local, kicking and screaming! I write articles with friends and publish them anonomously, as we all do. Like my CCTV cameras, what is better than an unseen watcher?
Facebook is leading a similar initiative in the USA / here called something like My Neighbourhood. Use that as a figurehead / focal point if you wish. Just do something, and go and do it right now. Start with your own road and just let it naturally grow. You don’t need charm, good looks, leadership qualities or money. You need to ‘ just do it’, like Nike said when selling trainers! Use what you have, this is about survival of your way of life. Take what you have and use it, someone will help you if you are trying to do good, and in the same manner you will enable good people to find a way to stop people doing bad, you just need to give them a conduit to use. You don’t need to go to war to be a hero, you don’t need to be aggressive to win, you just need to know that if the day comes that you have to stand up and be counted, there will be tenfold that stand up behind you and say “ that’s not right and I am here to tell you that too”.
In my head I had a little scenario that if someone had a problem on a road on my estate, they would pick up their phone and half the doors on that road opened and someone stepped out and said “I’m here for you”.
Regarding the gang of ‘Good-For-Nothings’ in their cars , smoking pot in the corner of the Spar carpark, I imagined a ‘Flashmob’ of Watchers surrounding them and explaining in short, choppy sentances, why they shoud leave and never come back! The reality is, we did not have to even get that far. Even the dumbest criminals ( lets face it, they ain’t clever!) know to stay away now. It’s a bit like ‘Moron’s Monopoly’ : If you land on Bannerbrook, you go straight to Jail!
YOU CAN DO THIS TOO. We are not an estate of superheroes, we are just like you and have had enough of people thinking we will look away. We have taken it back, We have had enough . we will stand up if we need too and know we are not alone. We are empowered. We are a community.
WILL ANYONE HELP ME?
Yes, anyone who wants a normal life back will recognise what you are doing and will help.
Once you start it off, people will help , some will come forward as figureheads, others will talk crap and disappear. Some will want to set up ‘ patrols’. Just leave them to it, it will peter out after a couple of days, because normal life gets in the way. This is called natural selection. The heroes will talk big, the luvvies will say you shouldn’t say that and the do-ers will take up the mantle and help you make it work.
THANKS FOR READING THIS FAR
I can only add that you should protect your family and property as you feel is appropriate. Being realistic, will a burglar really take you to court saying:
“ well I was just trying to burgle this house and I cut my finger really badly on some barbed wire in their garden and couldn’t got out robbing for weeks? The days of a Police Officer visiting you to say “that broken glass on your 6ft wall is a bit naughty because your wall is too low”. Get real!
If you ring 101 and say I think there’s a burglar bleeding to death on my wall, they will have someone free next week……………………..maybe if you are in at 1pm on Friday because they’re a bit busy!
Remember the old joke:
A man rang 999 and said there are burglars in my garden right now ! The answerer said, sorry there’s no-one available to attend!
The man hung up, then rang back 2 minutes later and said “don’t worry about the burglars, I’ve shot them !”
3 minutes later there was 30 coppers in his garden and a helicopter over his house as they arrested the burglars.
The superintendant walked up to the house owner and said “ I thought you said you’d shot them?”
The house owner replied “ I thought you said no-one was available?”
I try not to criticise, but lets just say, this used to be called a joke. Nowadays its called reality!