Text alert initiative praised by gardai

A NEIGHBOURHOOD watch initiative involving a text alert has been praised by gardai.

A NEIGHBOURHOOD watch initiative involving a text alert has been praised by gardai.

Residents at The Weir on the Castlecomer Road formed a neighbourhood watch scheme around 18 months ago and recently introduced a text alert whereby any suspicious activity can be reported through a text message which is sent to a designated number of nearby numbers. Anne Walsh who is chairperson of The Weir’s residents association told the Kilkenny People that the meetings are open to everyone.

“We usually have them every three months and they are open to anyone. Our AGM will be held over the coming weeks,” she said. She also added that there was a great community spirit in the area with Spring and Summer clean ups and regular litter picks. “These activities foster a sense of community and that is what inspires us to do it. We often live close to people but dont actually know our neighbours. It is all based on building community spirit,” she added.

“The idea for the text alert system came from the gardai who advised us about it and then we agreed to set it up. People could opt in or opt out of it. Basically if you are at home and are concerned you can send out a text to a number of neighbours. It is about people looking out for each other. Fortunately we have very little need for it butut us good to know that it is in place,” she said.

The estate is divided into three separate areas or zones and if there is a report from one of the zone a text is immediately sent out to other people living nearby.

Community sergeant Gary Gordon praised the scheme and encouraged other communities to follow in their footsteps. “The importance of the schemes, underline the working cooperation the Gardai and residents have in running the schemes. It is important that the Neighbourhood Watch schemes know their local Gardai and liaise on a regular basis. Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert schemes allow the Gardai to pass on crime prevention advice to the public in a structured way,” he said.