Wednesday, 15 December 2021 15:09

Neighbourhood Watch efficiency - Instant messaging applications: the best solution?

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EUNWA is promoting a research on the use of instant messaging apps in Neighbourhood Watch activities in Europe.

Instant messaging apps, like Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal, etc., are the tools most commonly used by Neighbourhood Watch schemes. These apps offer the advantage of being an instant communication tool, easy to use and practically at no cost. Despite their ease of use, we have collected feedback from several experiences that showed how their incorrect use can present some issues.

Within Neighbourhood Watch groups, an uncontrolled spread of news, the sources of which are often not certain, can generate alerts that can pile up and are never get "switched off", at the risks of generating social anxiety and a widespread sense of insecurity.

Even the misuse of these apps like sending photos of suspicious people or car license plates without prior assessment by law enforcement, can rise serious privacy violation problems within Neighbourhood Watch groups.

EUNWA is interested in understanding how instant messaging apps are used in the Neighbourhood Watch in Europe, whether any adverse side-effects have been observed regarding their misuse and whether guidelines and recommendations have been published on their use by institutions and/or associations promoting Neighbourhood Watch.

We have asked our European partners to collaborate in this research. The aim is to produce shared guidelines on the use of instant messaging apps and, in general, on the use of social media in Neighbourhood Watch activities.

If you wish to participate in the research, submit your application.

EUNWA Board

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