Neighbourhood Watch in Multi-Family Dwellings

Neighbourhood Watch in Multi-Family Dwellings

Neighbourhood watch is a method that focuses on preventing crime and increasing perceptions of safety and security by getting residents to themselves assume responsibility for their own immediate environment. It is in widespread use in areas of detached housing in Sweden.

In neighbourhoods comprising multi-family dwellings in socially disadvantaged areas, however, which experience high levels of residential mobility by comparison with neighbourhoods comprised of detached housing, the police have found it very difficult to start long-term and well-functioning neighbourhood watch projects.

The project Neighbourhood Watch in Multi-Family Dwellings has involved the local police in Halland working together with insurance companies and property owners to successfully reduce crime - first and foremost in the form of burglaries - in two socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods with multi-family dwellings, in which crime levels prior to the initiation of the project were high. The neighbourhood watch projects have now been ongoing in the two neighbourhoods for respectively six and five years.

An evaluation conducted by Halmstad University shows a significant reduction in crime between the period before and after the introduction of the neighbourhood watch project. The evaluation shows that crime was reduced by 37 and 23 percent respectively in the two neighbourhoods following the introduction of neighbourhood watch. The crime reductions were primarily related to theft offences such as burglaries of apartments and of cellar and attic storage spaces, but incidents of vandalism have also declined. Comparisons have also been conducted in relation to surrounding areas, which found that incidents of burglary had increased in these other areas during the corresponding period.

Today, just over five years after the initiation of the project, the vast majority of the stairwells in the apartment blocks in both neighbourhoods are involved in the neighbourhood watch project.


Wafa Issa,


The project started in 2006 and is now part of permanent activity.
Last review: October 2017.