August 26, 2020

London Community Safety [From Neighbourhood Watch London]

Our mission is to make our communities more safe, not only in the products and services that we provide, but in the information and resources that we share. In this series, we speak with the top security experts in London to get their best advice for local home and business owners.

We interviewed Jan Simms and Rodolfo Martinez, two members of the team at Neighbourhood Watch London (NWL).

NWL wants to help build better communities, by offering programs and supports focused on safety, reducing social isolation, increasing civic participation and improving community engagement.

We decided to interview them because their role as a long-standing non-profit organization makes them experts in community safety - something that all London homeowners should value.

Thanks to their insights, this article includes:

  • Why is community important in London?
  • The top 5 areas to protect on your property
  • Why should I embrace technology in home security?

Why is community important in London, Ontario?

The NWL team highlights that knowing your community is crucial to feeling at home in your neighbourhood. Sadly, two in three millennials don’t feel like they belong to their local community. That is what makes NWL’s work so important.

“Getting to know each other, in our differences and in our similarities, brings us closer together and makes us better people”

In the world we live in, with the absence of front porches and the ability to drive right into the garage and enter the house without interacting with anyone, knowing your neighbours is difficult, but no less necessary.

Especially during this recent pandemic, people’s need for community has been brought to the forefront.

Knowing your neighbours, and building a community, is a natural way to deter crime in your neighbourhood, but it can take time. NWL has some practical home security tips that you can implement immediately.

5 Things to Secure on Your London Property

In our conversation with NWL, they identified the five main areas that they hear complaints about from homeowners with regards to crime. They want you to know how to protect these things against crime.

  1. Car: The number one most common report they get from their communities is automobile break and enters. Everyone needs to remember that they should always be locking their cars. Remember to also keep objects out of sight, or better yet, don’t store them in your car.
  2. Lights: It is important to have good lighting in and around your home to deter would-be criminals, especially during the night. Motion-sensored lights are a great addition to a property because they turn on when triggered, often spooking criminals before they’re able to commit a crime. 
  3. Shrubbery: Maintaining your landscaping well increases visibility and decreases the potential for crime. Remember to cut tree branches to above sightline and cut down bushes to below line of sight. You can also use “hostile vegetation” - plants with thorns or sharp branches - underneath windows to deter someone from trying to climb in the window.
  4. Access points: There is no reason to conceal access points to your home. Remember to keep those entrances clear from the outside, to avoid giving a criminal an opportunity to be unseen. Even tall garbage and recycling bins are potential hiding places for thieves.
  5. Sheds: Most people forget that the value of objects stored in a shed is significant. Even if your shed is in your backyard, it is important to lock it. It is even advisable to have an exterior light on your shed for added protection.

Another thing to look at when considering home security is a monitored security system. A monitored security system is a combination of hardware (control panel, door contacts, window contacts, motion sensors, etc.) and software that works together to sound an alarm and send the police if your home or business is broken into. If you have any questions, or you're considering installing a home security system, please feel free to contact us.

For some people, the thought of a security system might be daunting because they use technologically-advanced equipment. However, one of the biggest home security tips they have for neighbourhoods in London is to embrace technology.

Embracing Technology

If you’re not familiar with NWL, they have been in London since 1983. You might recognize their signs, which are posted in their watch areas around the city. They have watch areas in every part of the city, and if there isn’t one close enough, residents are always welcomed to start their own.

Each group is autonomous because each neighbourhood is unique. However, the majority of groups are driven by home security because the neighbours share a genuine desire to make their neighbourhood safer and more community-focused.

The neighbourhood's demographics will impact their overall feelings towards implementing technology in their security practices.

NWL has seen how reluctant some people are to use tech, but they recognize that that’s the direction our world is headed and that everyone needs to “learn to be a computer person”.

“Technological advances in home security are wonderful and they can give you amazing peace of mind… if you can get past the hurdle of technology” says Jan.

With the use of technology, home security systems help homeowners deter and prevent criminal activity. A monitored security system will notify you immediately, whether at home or not, in the case of a break-in or disturbance. The system will also alert the necessary authorities.

Neighbourhood Watch has strong ties to the local police services and helps populate data, such as crime maps. If you didn’t know, there is a London crime map available online - check it out to see crime trends and to understand the crime landscape in London better.

We are thankful for organizations like NWL that prioritize the safety and well-being of London communities. Thank you to Jan and Rodolfo from NWL for their insights on community safety here in London, Ontario. If you’re interested in getting involved with NWL, reach out to them at

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