Neighbourhood watch & text alert schemes appeal to householders – AA

71% say they would join a text based community alert system in their area

The fear of burglary and anti-social behavior is on the minds of homeowners countrywide according to research carried out by AA Insurance.

Nearly three quarters of people in Ireland would sign up to a text based community alert system to share information on suspicious activities in their area, if one became available to them, results of a recent poll carried out by AA Home Insurance suggest.  A notably lesser percentage however, 29%, of the 5,200 respondents polled said they’d be willing to go a step further and actually set up a system for their area. 

While slightly less popular than the text based alert system, a high number of respondents also expressed some degree of interest in getting involved in a neighbourhood watch group in their area.  65% of those polled by AA Home Insurance said they’d be somewhat or very likely to join a neighbourhood watch group. 

A strong degree of apathy however also exists as far as actually initiating a neighbourhood watch group.   Just 10% of those polled by AA Home Insurance said they’d give it serious consideration with a number sharing a belief that they would be perceived as the local busy body if they did so.

By and large the poll found little discrepancy between counties in terms of interest levels in the scheme.  70% of respondents living in Dublin, 72% of those living in Cork and 78% of those living in Wexford for example said they would be interested in subscribing to a text alert system if one was available in their area. 

Other anecdotal feedback from the AA Home Insurance poll suggests that interest in community crime prevention initiatives is on the up as a result of the recent rise in burglaries.  According to CSO figures reported burglaries and related crimes were up by 20% during the first quarter of 2012 when compared to the same time last year.  Worse again the 2012 figures represent a 30% increase when compared to the same period in 2010.[1] 

“A number of text based community alert systems are being piloted by Gardaí around the country and there have been some real success stories.  There seems to be good potential for the initiative in certain areas and people are genuinely interested to learn more about it.” Says Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs, AA Ireland.

Those not inclined to sign up for either text based community alerts or neighbourthood watch shared a number of different reasons.  Among these were a belief that Gardaí would be too slow to respond, that their community simply wasn’t close knit enough and that the scheme could generate nuisance levels of texts in busy urban areas.  Several respondents also shared a concern that the texts could cause unnecessary panic among older or more vulnerable residents.  Another respondent even went so far as to say he feared the schemes could insight vigilantism.

The poll also asked respondents how they felt they would reaction if they saw a car, person or group of people they deemed to be suspicious hanging around their area.  The first port of call for the majority according to the poll would be to jot down descriptive details about the person or vehicle. 

Following this respondents said they’d be inclined to keep a watchful eye from a distance to see how the situation would play out.

After this the most likely reaction would be to phone the Gardaí but only if they were fairly certain that fowl play was a foot.  Just 8% overall said they’d approach the person or group of people to query what they were up to.  This figure was higher among males with 11% saying they’d do so compared to 5% of women. 

On an inter county level, those in Dublin emerged as least likely to approach a vehicle or person while those in Cavan emerged as most likely to do so.   14% of Cavan residents polled said they’d walk over for a chat compared to 6% in Dublin.  Interestingly in a previous AA Home insurance poll those from Cavan also emereged as most likely of all twenty six counties to attempt to restrain a burglar.

Just 3% of those polled said they’d do nothing and simply hope their suspicions were ill founded.

Fig. 1 How likely/unlikely respondents said they would be to sign up or initiate the following (Based on 5282 responses):

  Very likely  Somewhat likely  Neutral  Not very likely  Not at all likely I already subscribe/am a member
Sign up for a text alert system 42.9% 28.6% 11.9% 8.9% 6.0% 1.6%
Sign up for a local neighbourhood watch group 35.4% 29.3% 14.8% 10.9% 5.6% 4.1%
Initiate a text alert system in your area 13.4% 15.8% 25.4% 26.2% 18.2% 1.0%
Initiate a neighbourhood watch group in your area 10.9% 13.6% 26.2% 26.0% 19.8% 3.5%

Split by county of respondents who said they are very/somewhat likely to do the following:

  CW (64 resps) CN (50 resps) C (687 resps) CE (100 resps) DL (116 resps) D (1,991 resps) G (230 resps) KY (77 resps) KE (309 resps.) KK (71 resps.) LS (79 resps) L (175 resps)
Sign up for a text alert system 78% 78% 72% 72% 68% 70% 66% 63% 74% 78% 75% 69%
Sign up for a local neighbourhood watch group 64% 65% 63% 66% 59% 62% 66% 59% 70.7% 73% 70% 65%
Initiate a text alert system in your area 35% 19% 28% 28% 28% 26% 32% 33% 31% 38% 33% 32%
Initiate a neighbourhood watch group in your area 22% 20.4% 25% 21% 27% 21% 26% 26% 27.3% 36% 29% 30%

CONTD’ Split by county of respondents who said they are very/somewhat likely to do the following:

  LM (23 resps.) LD  (29 resps.) LH (107 resps) MO (40 resps.) MH (241 resps) MN (40 resps.)  OY (60 reps) SO (55 resps) TN/TS (113 resps.) WM (73 resps) WD (140 resps) WX (128 resps) WW (251 resps)
Sign up for a text alert system 52% 62% 74% 70% 75% 70% 71% 80% 71% 76% 78% 76% 72%
Sign up for a local neighbourhood watch group 61% 71% 63% 63% 69% 63% 78% 64% 65% 72% 66% 68% 62%
Initiate a text alert system in your area 26% 43% 36% 30% 33% 30% 29% 40% 30% 35% 34% 36% 22%
Initiate a neighbourhood watch group in your area 18% 32% 29% 23% 30% 23% 31% 30% 26% 25% 31% 31% 16%

Fig. 2 How respondents indicated they would react if they spotted a suspicious looking car, person or group of people in their local area (Based on 5,296 responses):

Approach the individual/group and question what they are doing? 8.0%
Report it/them to the Gardaí 63.9%
Report it/them to your local neighbourhood watch group (if you have one) 17.6%
Send out a text alert (if you subscribe) 18.7%
Keep a watchful eye on them to see what they do 65.6%
Note details about them (i.e. car reg, appearance etc.) 73.3%
Do nothing and hope your suspicions are ill founded 3.4%
Other 0.7%

Figure 2B. County by county split of how respondents indicated they would react if they spotted a suspicious looking car, person or group of people in their local area (Based on 5,296 responses):

  CW (64 resps) CN (50 resps) C (687 resps) CE (100 resps) DL (116 resps) D (1,991 resps) G (230 resps) KY (77 resps) KE (309 resps.) KK (71 resps.) LS (79 resps) L (175 resps) LM (23 resps.)
Approach the individual/group and question what they are doing? 13.2% 13.5% 9.6% 6.6% 6.9% 6.4% 7.1% 8.7% 8.2% 11.7% 4.9% 6.7% 8.7%
Report it/them to the Gardaí 66.2% 57.7% 58.1% 55.7% 60.4% 68.2% 57.7% 63.1% 66.0% 62.3% 69.1% 66.1% 52.2%
Report it/them to your local neighbourhood watch group (if you have one) 25.0% 26.9% 14.6% 22.6% 20.8% 14.6% 21.2% 17.5% 22.3% 20.8% 23.5% 17.2% 8.7%
Send out a text alert (if you subscribe) 32.4% 19.2% 15.4% 12.3% 16.8% 16.7% 13.7% 22.3% 21.1% 19.5% 21.0% 23.3% 17.4%
Keep a watchful eye on them to see what they do 70.6% 61.5% 68.7% 69.8% 73.3% 65.5% 64.7% 50.5% 66.4% 63.6% 61.7% 60.0% 56.5%
Note details about them (i.e. car reg, appearance etc.) 80.9% 75.0% 76.1% 70.8% 70.3% 68.8% 77.2% 75.7% 72.6% 81.8% 76.5% 77.2% 73.9%
Do nothing and hope your suspicions are ill founded 2.9% 3.8% 2.8% 4.7% 0.0% 4.1% 5.0% 2.9% 2.8% 2.6% 3.7% 2.8% 4.3%
Other 0.0% 1.9% 0.8% 0.9% 1.0% 0.7% 0.4% 1.0% 0.6% 0.0% 0.0% 1.1% 4.3%

CONTD: Figure 2B. County by county split of how respondents indicated they would react if they spotted a suspicious looking car, person or group of people in their local area (Based on 5,296 responses):

  LD  (29 resps.) LH (107 resps) MO (40 resps.) MH (241 resps) MN (40 resps.)  OY (60 reps) SO (55 resps) TN/TS (113 resps.) WM (73 resps) WD (140 resps) WX (128 resps) WW (251 resps)
Approach the individual/group and question what they are doing? 13.3% 7.8% 11.5% 10.5% 7.1% 12.7% 9.8% 8.6% 11.5% 8.6% 8.0% 9.0%
Report it/them to the Gardaí 73.3% 64.3% 57.7% 64.0% 52.4% 58.7% 60.7% 54.3% 64.1% 56.8% 53.6% 66.1%
Report it/them to your local neighbourhood watch group (if you have one) 30.0% 20.9% 26.0% 21.9% 9.5% 20.6% 18.0% 9.5% 23.1% 15.8% 24.6% 15.9%
Send out a text alert (if you subscribe) 40.0% 27.0% 22.1% 27.1% 11.9% 17.5% 21.3% 14.7% 30.8% 21.6% 21.7% 15.5%
Keep a watchful eye on them to see what they do 63.3% 67.8% 68.3% 65.6% 66.7% 66.7% 63.9% 57.8% 66.7% 66.9% 68.1% 67.4%
Note details about them (i.e. car reg, appearance etc.) 83.3% 80.9% 82.7% 79.4% 59.5% 76.2% 75.4% 71.6% 71.8% 81.3% 79.7% 76.8%
Do nothing and hope your suspicions are ill founded 3.3% 3.5% 4.8% 2.0% 4.8% 6.3% 4.9% 3.4% 2.6% 0.0% 4.3% 2.6%
Other 0.0% 0.0% 1.0% 1.2% 2.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.9% 0.0% 0.7% 0.7% 0.9%

 


[1] CSO Databases, Recorded Crime Offences by Garda Dvision: http://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Statire/SelectVarVal/saveselections.asp