Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Watch: Participatory Mapping and Socio Demographic Uptake

John Topping

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    Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Watch (NINW) was formally introduced to Northern Ireland in 2004 by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Policing Board and Northern Ireland Office. However, there has been little research to data as to participation in, or success of, the schemes. This research report provides one of the few empirical examinations of NINW. Using GIS mapping and socio-demographic data from the Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service (NINIS), the research explores participation in NINW schemes set against religion, deprivation and crime levels at the Census Output Area (COA) level across Northern Ireland. While the research largely confirms the limited impact of neighbourhood schemes as noted in international literature, at a local level in Northern Ireland the findings evidence a distinct pattern of uptake, with the vast majority of participants in the schemes residing in affluent, low-crime, mainly Protestant areas of the country.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherUnknown Publisher
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Aug 2012

    Bibliographical note

    Reference text: Bennett, T. (1990) Evaluating Neighbourhood Watch. Aldershot: Gower Publishing

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    Fleming, J. (2005) ‘Working Together: Neighbourhood Watch, Reassurance Policing and the Potential of Partnerships’, Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice no. 303, Austrialian Institute of Criminology. Available at

    Husain, S. (1988) Neighbourhood Watch in England and Wales: A Locational Analysis/Crime Prevention Unit Paper 12. London: Home Office

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    Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (2005) State of the Sector IV. Belfast: NICVA

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    Sherman, L. (1997) ‘Policing for crime prevention’, In Sherman, L., Gottfredson, D., MacKenzie, D. Eck, J., Reuter, P. & Bushway, S. (eds.), Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising. Washington, D.C.: US Office of Justice Programs.

    Office of the Oversight Commissioner (2007) Overseeing the Proposed Revisions for the Policing Services of Northern Ireland Report 19. Belfast: Office of the Oversight Commissioner

    Sherman, L. and Eck, J. (2002) ‘Policing for Crime Prevention’, in Sherman, L., Farrington, D., Welsh, B. and MacKenzie, D. (eds.) Evidence-based Crime Prevention. London: Routledge

    Social Media Research and Institute for Conflict Reasarch (2007) Research into the Views and Experience of People Involved in Neighbourhood Watch Schemes in Northern Ireland. Belfast: NIPB/CSU/PSNI

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    Topping, J. R. (2009) Beyond the Patten Report: The Governance of Security in Policing with the Community. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Ulster.

    Topping, J. R. and Byrne, J. (2012) Community Safety: A Decade of Development, Delivery, Challenge and Change in Northern Ireland. Belfast: Belfast Conflict Resolution Consortium


    • Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Watch
    • Neighbourhood Watch
    • Police Service of Northern Ireland
    • PSNI
    • Northern Ireland Policing Board
    • NIPB
    • crime
    • policing


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