WatchApp: Sheffield Neighborhood Watch social media is catching on to catch criminals

Neighbourhood Watch groups, a British Institution since 1982, are increasingly being conducted over WhatsApp in Sheffield.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 7th February 2017, 9:25 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th February 2017, 12:09 pm
Sheffield Neighborhood Watch community spirit thriving
Sheffield Neighborhood Watch community spirit thriving

A new survey shows 16 per cent of city home-owners are communicating with neighbours via Facebook, WhatsApp or iMessenger social media sites, here featuring comparison with Derbyshire and soundtracked (totes obvs) by Neighbours theme tune.

Researchers also reveal nearly half of crime-conscious residents (49%) here have joined Neighbourhood Watch groups on or offline.

Almost two thirds of Steel City folk (64%) have neighbours’ contact numbers while some 13 per cent report security issues to group chat.

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Home Insurer Together Mutual Insurance considered how technology and lifestyle factors impact within South Yorkshire neighbourhoods.

Of those connecting in Sheffield online groups, most popular social platforms include:

* Facebook groups (7%)

* WhatsApp groups and iMessage (2%)

* One-to-one messaging (9%)

The neighbourhood watch community movement was founded in America following the murder of Kitty Genovese where nearby residents failed to take action.

Sheffield's neighbourhood spirit appears to be thriving with 14 per cent indicating they are on first name terms with everyone on their street while overall majority (96%) of locals know at least some of fellow residents.

Findings highlighted those who connect locally with neighbours by WhatsApp or social media group chats prefer to adopt this method because:

* A quarter find it quicker to update the group at the same time (25%)

* Half say it is easier to update everyone at once without having to meet face to face (50%)

* One in four (25%) say it creates a sense of community

Together Mutual Insurance CEO Jon Craven said: “There is no doubt that our busy everyday lives affect how much time we have to keep up with the Jones’s but it’s very pleasing to see communities are capitalising on modern technology to alert their fellow neighbours at an instant should they have concerns.”

“It’s often the case we are told Neighbourhood Watch groups are part of a bygone era. However, moving them online is a great idea and will ensure this vital community activity continues to help protect our homes.”

Group chat favourite topics include:

* Getting community updates (21%)

* Discussing security issues (13%)

* Arranging community social events (school fetes and activities) (21%)

* Recommending trades or services (15%)

* Evening social activities (drinks and dinner parties) (10%)

Just a call away, almost two thirds (64%) of Sheffield people possess some neighbours' telephone numbers and, encouragingly, overwhelming majority (98%) of locals state they care a lot about their area and its upkeep.

Women are more likely than men to call a neighbour to see if they are OK (61% of females compared to 54% of males) and are also more inclined to call boys in blue if needed (56% of gals compared to 49% of guys).