On Friday (27th), a new Facebook was created for Crowborough to allow people to share details of local crimes, vandalism and scams in order to try and make the area a safer place.
The page description is as follows:
This is a group to share stories of local incidents. Suspicious behaviour, Burglaries, crimes, frauds, lost and found etc. We are not advocating any kind of vigilantism but in absence of any regular police presence it is becoming more important for the people of Crowborough to keep an eye out for each other. No selling.
The Group already has over 3,000 members. Anyone can ask to join the “Crowborough Watch” or they can be invited by a current member, but only members can see the content.
So far a member of the Group has warned drivers with “keyless” entry systems that thieves might be able to get into their cars using signal amplifiers. Somebody reported that the glass doors at Lidl’s were smashed on Saturday night. Photographs of the Kings Arms were shared with the Group showing the damage to the side of the building after it was once again hit by a lorry driving through Rotherfield. Others have shared incidents of car vandalism and somebody posted a photograph taken showing their smashed windscreen after it was shattered by an egg thrown from a passing vehicle on the A26 at Eridge. Someone who provides support to survivors of rape or sexual assault has posted contact details for The Saturn Centre.
Comments by members of the Group reflect widespread public dissatisfaction with neighbourhood policing. Town Councillor David Neeves has shared drafts of an email he is sending jointly to the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner and the MP for Wealden, about the lack of Police presence in Crowborough. An online petition has also been started demanding police to be brought back to Crowborough.
Gareth Hockin, set-up “Crowborough Watch”. He explained his motivation:
Over the last few months I’ve seen more and more posts in the various selling groups and news articles about crimes being committed in Crowborough. Now I’ve grown up and lived my whole life here and had never heard very much about crime on this level. Over the last few months I’ve read of burglaries in homes and businesses, cars being broken into and people’s belongings being set on fire, I’ve met people who have had purses stolen in Waitrose and others who have been called by people pretending to be the bank, my own parents have had a van broken into and a car rammed in a supermarket, the list goes on. Probably the last straw was when a friend of mine (not in Crowborough) was burgled whilst he slept! It has galvanised me to start this group.
Everyday something seems to happen and everyday people see things that they might not realise are important details. I created this group to be that neighbourhood watch that in the absence of a police force the town needs.
I have been shocked by the number of people who have given up reporting crimes because they feel that the police aren’t interested or that reporting them will only increase insurance prices. It’s just sad that things have come to this. I’m hoping that this group will have a positive impact and bring the community together and curb the apparent decline of the town.
If you are a Facebook user and would like to join, send a request to the Administrators: Crowborough Watch.