Starting a watch without knowing anyone

In Tower Hamlets, we have some very densely populated tower blocks with individual dwellings exceeding 1300 units. All you get, is a central entrance area, lifts, stairs, perhaps a concierge. Even smaller blocks are quite anonymous and often there is not even a concierge, no Residents Association or any social provision.

The environment can look bleak from the point of getting to meet people. You do not know where to start. You need some way of ascertaining whether a person is friend or foe.

Our advise is:

  • Create yourself a neutral email address. Providers like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook, iPhone (and others) allow most users to create alias email addresses, which are not clearly showing your name. You could choose your street, block name NW and a number for example. Such an email address allows you to be approached without disclosing your identity.
  • Use this newly created e-mail address to register on Ourwatch and the Membership Admin can create you a watch if you cannot manage to do so yourself.
  • The watch will appear online and others can apply to join you.
  • Ask anybody wanting to join a few questions and carefully decide whether to admit them to your NW circle.
  • If you meet people you may ask them to join your watch by emailing them from your membership area.
  • Creating and maintaining a Neighbourhood Watch group is the best way to meet with people who respect the law, if you are keen on mixing with people who are law-abiding.

We recommend those actions because in areas without established social networks, you may bump into some unfriendly, criminal elements who want nothing more than drive you away.

Unfortunately some criminals perceive areas as their own and behave accordingly.

If you come across such a situation, it is best to lay low and be carefully considering your own safety.

Collect as much evidence as possible if you can about dangerous individuals in your area and send those details anonymously to us, so no uniformed officers will come to visit you, which, in some cases, can make your situation worst.

We would gladly negotiate meeting with local officers in a way, which benefits you, rather than aggravate a situation.