PROMOTION OF OUR NETWORK:
The Messenger platform works by invitation, but each member has the ability to add their own members. I opted to promote the group with occasional broadcast messages, but not too persistently, with open invitations to add friends and family that are on the estate or overview the edges of the estate. They in turn can add their own members and in effect the Network is by invite only and promoted in the way Amway or Avon is , i.e. by word of mouth or opting in by a friend.
This has allowed our estate of approx 750 houses to develop an active membership of an average 200+ ‘Watchers’.
The network encourages helpers to add any skills or features they wish and you will find that some will perhaps offer to print posters or flyers or post them in their road and go out and tell their neighbours about it, or add other groups they are in en-masse. Some members find us after reading posts on other sites we have affiliated with and information can easily be gathered across many of the neighbouring estates from Eastern Green, Tile Hill, Allesley Park, Coundon etc. People will happily re- post relevant posts across to alert the general area of suspicious or criminal activity. Everyone does their little bit as they feel is necessary. Local shopkeepers are actively welcomed and benefit, as are pensioners, dog-walkers and mothers with babies as they are more often walking long distances, seeing everything. In effect, we have eyes and ears everwhere on the street and online. You can all play your part and be useful within your community by being vigilant.
We have only had to implement occasional regulatory roles. i.e. asking for volunteers for website set-up and administration, very occasional admin on Bannerbrook , to re-inforce the few very basic rules if it is felt someone is not working ‘with the group’ or says something that may be mis-interpreted by others. We have had no need to remove and members in the 5 months that the network has been active. If a heated online ‘discussion’ develops a simple message of thanks to everybody for their input, and reminder that the rule is to keep ‘chatter’ to the minimum seems to be the only ‘admin’ comment required! We all take this network seriously and are very proud of how tightly we police it. I suspect bigger groups will develop problems of their own as they develop. This is natural and people not deemed to be a benefit to the group can be removed with a click!
Members now seem to relish using their expertise and knowledge of online information sources to ascertain if suspicious vehicles are taxed and registered as the index (number) plate that they are displaying. There is now a very short period of group decision before nefarious characters watching vehicles or properties, ‘boy racers’ , vehicles touring the estate suspiciously, people been shadowed home etc are reported to 101 or 999 and then someone will relay it directly to local support Police Officers by email or text, so it is not overlooked.