Call for better Neighbourhood Watch coverage in Saffron Walden

A RALLYING cry has been made by the Neighbourhood Watch to people living in Saffron Walden and the surrounding villages to help stamp out crime in their communities.

Chairman of the Uttlesford District Neighbourhood Watch Steering Group, Alan Johnson, has warned residents not to be complacent just because they live in a low-crime area.

“We have made significant progress and almost 19,000 households within the Uttlesford district are now covered by the scheme,” he said.

“However, we still have a lot of work to do broadening the scope of the neighbourhood watch, particularly with elderly and young people, and we need to do better in areas with high criminality.”

At the annual meeting of the Uttlesford group held last week, Mr Johnson announced a new ‘traffic lights’ system. Saffron Walden was flagged up as only having partial coverage, compared to Stansted Mountfitchet and Newport which had full coverage.

“We do need a lot more neighbourhood watch coordinators to come forward and act as the focal point for the scheme in their road,” said Mr Johnson.

“In Saffron Walden we’ve got about 40 coordinators, but for full coverage we would need somewhere near 150.”

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Despite the comparatively low coverage in Saffron Walden, Uttlesford is the second-highest covered district in the county with 65 schemes and 523 coordinators.

“Neighbourhood watch is having an impact on crime as well as helping to reduce the fear of crime,” said Mr Johnson. “We are empowering people to take action and more crimes are now being reported to the police.

“I think we’re getting the message out there that if you’re at all concerned about suspicious activity in your street then you should call the police.”

As well as crime-fighting initiatives, the neighbourhood watch also promotes a ‘message in a bottle’ scheme which gives the emergency services quick access to people’s medical information.

If you would like to get involved with Uttlesford Neighbourhood Watch e-mail Mr Johnson at or contact Uttlesford’s crime reduction officer, Peter Caulfield, on 0300 333 4444.