United Kingdom

Neighbourhood Watch: Pandemic dries a new generation of members

There has been a surge in households joining the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme during the pandemic, new research has revealed.

The biggest increase in those joining the schemes were younger age groups, according to data from Go Compare.

It found there was a 14 per cent rise in those aged 25 to 34 and a 10 per cent increase in homeowners aged 35 to 44 signing up last year. 

The comparison site added a further 12.9 per cent of its home insurance customers signed up to a Watch scheme between March and April last year compared to the average number of people in the three years prior.

There has been a surge in young households signing up to the Neighbourhood Watch scheme

Ryan Fulthorpe, from Go Compare Home Insurance said: 'The Covid lockdowns had such a huge impact on the way we see our homes, and it would appear, the communities around those homes.

'It's not that surprising that people are looking to form a stronger relationship with their neighbours and join forces to tackle crime or anti-social behaviour.'

Since lockdown restrictions have eased, Go Compare has seen the proportion of people who declare they are a member of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme on their home insurance quote slow.

However, there was still a 7.7 per cent increase across the board from January and February in 2020, before Covid, compared to April and May, in the time since the first lockdown last year.

Fulthorpe added: 'The pandemic meant that people found themselves in situations they never thought they'd be living through and at some points, it seemed like it would never end.

'It's heart-warming to see that one of the responses to this crisis was that people looked to form a stronger bond in their respective communities and pull together as a group. 

'Hopefully this is something we will see continue long after the pandemic and for years into the future.'

It is thought many younger people signed up to form 'stronger bonds' with their community 

Launched in 1982, Neighbourhood Watch is a charitable movement that aims to bring neighbours together to create strong, friendly, active communities where crime and anti-social behaviour are less likely to happen.

Across England and Wales, it has upwards of 2.3million members.

Younger people have recently wanted to join to the Watch as they want to be part of a local community-led organisation to help make their communities better places to live, according to the scheme.

John Hayward-Cripps, chief executive of the Neighbourhood Watch Network, said: 'Young people have been hit hard by the pandemic economically, socially and mentally. Many have been involved and seen the strength in local connected, supportive communities.

'The pandemic made us all connect more digitally, and with this shift, we saw a growth in local online Neighbourhood Watch groups that are more accessible for busy young people.

'Being rooted within communities throughout England and Wales, Neighbourhood Watch is uniquely positioned to help prevent crimes, connect people and communities and respond to local issues and crises such as floods, the environment or the current pandemic.

'We are thrilled young people see us as the go-to organisation, and we are excited by the energy and enthusiasm they bring.'

Many comparison sites ask customers about Neighbourhood Watch membership as part of their home insurance quote process as some insurers will offer a discount on premiums if they are a member of a local scheme. 

Those who are a member are expected to be actively involved and attend meetings, keep an eye on neighbours properties and share police information with other members. 

The data was based on almost 350,000 home insurance quotes taken on Go Compare. 

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