We really are a nation of dog lovers and in Stevenage dog owners are using their daily walks with their beloved pooches, to also benefit the communities where they live.
The Stevenage Dog Watch, which is part of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme, is just two members short of reaching 1500 participants.
Set up in 2009 the scheme is simple – whilst out on their daily walks, members keep an eye on their local community and report any criminal or suspicious activity they might spot. This could include ASB, damage, graffiti, or a suspected crime in progress.
The members also have a direct link to the Stevenage Police Neighbourhood Watch Liaison Officer, Verity Soued, and receive any relevant crime information for their area, direct from her.
“The scheme is extremely popular in Stevenage, with members arranging group walks which makes it a very social affair,” explained Verity.
“Since it was set up by Sarah Sheldrick, we have seen the numbers steadily growing. Sadly, Sarah is no longer with us, but her mother, Dawn, has continued her good work and regularly organises local events and takes part in community events on behalf of the group.
“Dog Watch works because dog walkers are constantly out and about, and they notice things out of the ordinary. We ask members to keep us informed of anything they think is suspicious. They also report graffiti or damage to street furniture to the council. Along with the other watches we run, they are the eyes and ears of our community.
“We hope that the group will continue to grow as it benefits not only the community, but individual dog owners who have made new friends through their involvement.”