40 years of community safety vigilance

June 26, 2023 BY

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria CEO Bambi Gordon. Photos: ANDREW HOBBS/NHW VICTORIA

BELLARINE Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) volunteers rubbed shoulders with Victoria’s top cops as part of a statewide recognition of the community service.

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria is celebrating its 40th year of crime prevention activities in coming weeks after forming on June 15, 1983.

NHW is a non-profit organisaiton that originally started as a Victoria Police program, and which aims to minimise preventable crimes to create safer communities.

Local volunteers attending a Melbourne event last Thursday that included special guest like the organisation’s first volunteer and current president Tom Newman, Victoria Police Chief Inspector Chris Coster and Chief Commissioner Shane Patton.


Bellarine branch memorabilia on display at the 40th anniversary event.


Neighbourhood Watch Bellarine sent a collection of memorabilia from its 40 years to the statewide celebration, including a range of posters and notices, and a shirt from a local Scouts troop that included a Neighbourhood Watch badge from a 2008 program.

Neighbourhood Watch will also send a travelling roadshow across the state to mark its anniversary, which is set to reach Geelong during August.

“We’re acknowledging the various programs we’ve had over the years and seeing how much we’ve changed over the those 40 years,” Neighbourhood Watch Greater Geelong co-ordinator Rhonda Rotherham said.

The age of social media has meant NHW branches have more efficient and convenient ways of delivering their safety messages to their communities.

In-person initiatives still continue across the Bellarine, including a partnership with SES Bellarine to provide anti-theft screws for residents’ number plates.

Ms Rotherham said the group would still welcome more volunteers to come on board and help provide the local service.

“Going back 30 years, we had a lot of groups on the Bellarine Peninsula; Drysdale, Portarlington St Leonards, Ocean Grove, who were really active and delivering monthly newsletters, etcetera.

“But over the past 10 years those numbers have dwindled dramatically to where we are now with one active group at St Leonards with the rest of the Bellarinebeing purely a a social media entity.

“We’ve gone to getting our messages out that way, it is a lot easier.

“[But] I’d certainly like to have a few more volunteers so that we could undertake more activities in the community.”