An award-winning community scheme that makes every day greetings a weapon in the fight against crime will return for the Olympics.

The Meet and Greet campaign, first piloted by residents in the Canbury ward in January this year following a spate of burglaries, will return while police are stretched dealing with the Games.

Residents are urged to put their reserve to one side and say hello to people in the street, to raise community awareness and decrease the chances their homes will become a target for thieves.

Canbury Neighbourhood Watch’s Nicola Duffey said the scheme, backed by London Mayor Boris Johnson, will also help residents get to know each other.

She said: “Over the summer, and in particular the two-week period of the Olympic Games, we are encouraging residents to not only be more aware when they’re out and about.

“In the countryside everyone says ‘Good morning’ to each other, but we tend not to in the town, we are too busy minding our own business.

“So for the summer we’re inviting residents to look up at the street and not at their feet and quite simply greet with a ‘Good morning’ or ‘Good evening’ to all they meet.”

Sergeant Sam Mines, of the Canbury safer neighbourhood team, supported the scheme and said she was glad it was returning for the Games.

She said: “It is definitely a good idea particular because residents came up with it themselves and we are supporting them rather than the other way round.

“It has really brought the community together exactly as it did last time.

“It is also good for reducing crime because with everybody knowing one another, someone who does not live around here sticks out like a sore thumb.”

The campaign, a joint project between Canbury Neighbourhood Watch and Brag residents’ association, was awarded a Team London Star by the Mayor in March.

Presenting the award at a reception at City Hall, Mr Johnson said: “It is spot on that these extraordinary, selfless Londoners are being recognised for their contributions through volunteering in our capital. “Their commitment to helping those most in need should be an example to us all.”

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