Thoughts of a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator (1): the email list

For the last few months we’ve been organisers of the Neighbourhood Watch in our street. This mostly means sending out email messages every few days to an email list of residents in the street. The contents are mostly police alerts about crime (actual or tips on prevention) but so as not to be too downbeat I include other local information such as the progress of a nearby housing development and websites which can be used for local matters such as Nextdoor or FixMyStreet.

Every so often I distribute letters to the households which are not yet on the list, which update about recent crime and encourage them to join the list, assuring them the their email address won’t be made known to anyone else. There are quite a number of these absentees, and it’s hard to see the reason for this. Not all the ‘missing households’ are short-term residents (who, sadly, are the ones most in need of crime warnings as they are more likely to be targets); I’m still waiting to hear from a local Parliamentary candidate (!) and from another household which readily signed up to Nextdoor.

In many cases it’s just inertia. People say ‘Got your letter – will try to remember to send you my email address’. And sometimes the replies to our letters have indeed been delayed. Beyond that there may be an (incorrect) feeling that NW is a way of spying on other people in the street. And a general reluctance to give your email address away. Perhaps a fear of spam, or of phishing or hacking attempts coming via email. This is ironic, as one of the topics the email list sends helpful information about is how to beware of electronic crime.

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