‘Neighbourhood Watch’ app used by Hackney residents to tackle crime

Hackney Pic: David Holt

Residents and police in Hackney are trialling the use of a new app designed to share information about crime and anti-social behaviour.

Between 300 to 400 residents in Hackney are registered users of the community app Trygve which is used and endorsed by the Metropolitan Police.

Residents log incidents on the app and give descriptions of suspects and other relevant information to help the police in their investigations. Users can share and receive local incident information in real time and it allows people to collaborate by commenting on events or collaborate on fighting crime together. Police in London use the app to post news of arrests, warn residents of repeating crimes in the area and appeal to the public for information.

The app was also trialled in Enfield and Southwark in November last year but has been found to be most effective in Hackney.

According to Trygve, the app has helped tackle drug dealing in the borough. Residents have logged the registrations of cars, mopeds and bikes believed to be involved in drug dealing. The police then used the information to send notices to the vehicle owners and some were visited by the police.

Trygve said that residents were left frustrated when they tried to report crimes by phoning 101 but were left on hold and their concerns were not resolved. The app has been seen as a way of ensuring that residents have a platform to report all criminal concerns and help the police to build evidence.

This new digital approach to tackling crime allows for the Safer Neighbourhoods Team to engage with the local community to tackle issues of anti-social behaviour.

The Met Police support the use of the app and police officers are encouraged to use it in their local policing. Sergeant Bill Connor,  of the Territorial Policing branch of the Met , said: “In supporting our national Neighbourhood Watch, we are also supporting the systems they use, including Trygve.”

In June 2017, the crime rate in Hackney was higher than average for the Metropolitan Police force area and in October 2017, 241 crimes were reported in Hackney Central alone. In Hackney Downs, Anti-social behaviour counted for 23% of the overall crime rate in October and November with 412 cases being reported to the police.

Users can add their location to the local map  Pic: Trygve

Trygve started working with the Metropolitan Police in January this year to improve engagement between police officers and residents.  Sheona Urquhart, the UK manager for Trygve, told EastLondonLines: “We’ve worked alongside the local Met Police Safer Neighbourhoods teams in various Hackney wards. The Hackney council community safety department has also become involved, through their work with local police.”

The app, launched in Sweden in 2015,  was introduced in the UK last June. It also provides users with a personal safety alarm that can notify the nearby public if they need immediate assistance; it can be triggered manually if the user feels unsafe.

One Hackney resident who wanted to remain anonymous told ELL: “Being a part of Trygve has allowed me to get to know my neighbours and local police much better and I feel a part of something bigger.

“It’s nice to know that other people in the community feel the same way as I do regarding certain issues. It’s also reassuring that we can voice these concerns to local police and get a response.”



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