COMMUNITIES across the Hambleton district of the Yorkshire Dales are being encouraged to sign up to one of the simplest - and most successful - crime reduction initiatives in the UK.
The district already has 620 Neighbourhood Watch schemes covering numerous villages and towns. But there is scope for many more according to local authority bosses - and to mark National Neighbourhood Watch Week (June 17th - 24th) crime fighters are urging local people to get involved.
Nationally there are over 6 million members of a scheme which the police say not only helps to cut crime but through partnership work between members and other agencies - like the police and Hambleton's Community Safety Partnership - can deal with issues that affect residents' quality of life.
"Watch schemes can foster a new community spirit and belief in the ability to tackle problems" said Partnership Vice Chairman, Carl Les.
"Sadly over recent years much community spirit has been lost - fewer people care about their neighbours and other people's property. Problems are deemed to be someone else's and often not resolved.
"Through neighbourhood watch, things can be changed - by banding together local people can make a difference."
He said vandalism, graffiti, vehicle crime and home security are just some of the issues which can be addressed. And added that watch schemes can be about offering assistance to someone in need, such as a sick or elderly neighbour who needs help in the garden or running to the shops.
Each scheme will have a designated police officer to contact - and signs indicating the area is covered by the 'watch' system will be provided.
Anyone interested in setting up a scheme should contact PC Peter King, Watch Co-coordinator for North Yorkshire Police in the Hambleton area on 01723 509696 or via the force switchboard on 0845 60 60 247.