The Barnett Government has denied the death knell has sounded for Neighbourhood Watch after community leaders claimed crucial funding and resources were being removed from the program.
Several Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators said a meeting in South Perth at the weekend was told members would have to communicate by email, with face-to-face meetings to end.
Neighbourhood Watch Butler manager Dave Mallett said the general consensus of about 60 people at the meeting held by WA Police was there was no doubt the program was coming to an end.
"We were told there will be no more meetings, no more street reps, no area co-ordinators, no suburb managers and no resources to hand out information material," Mr Mallett said. "They are taking away the funding."
Bayswater co-ordinator Pat Lim, who was at the meeting, said she reacted with "shock, horror and disgust" when told about the changes. She said emails would not work because the program's success hinged on direct community engagement.
Mrs Lim said there would be an increase in crime in the suburbs if the Government did not immediately increase funding and support for the program.
Shadow police minister Michelle Roberts said the Government had cut the program by stealth.
"Over the last three years or so, gradually the resources and funding to Neighbourhood Watch have been cut and now we are seeing what appears to be the final nail in the coffin," Mrs Roberts said.
Police Minister Liza Harvey denied the popular initiative was being canned.
She said the meeting was to "modernise the Neighbourhood Watch model" by helping members make use of resources such as Facebook and Twitter. The Government was looking to give the program more resources and training people to use the police website.
"I want to put it on the record loudly and clearly that I support the efforts of Neighbourhood Watch 100 per cent," Mrs Harvey said.
A WA Police spokesman said the police would continue to support the program despite membership numbers dwindling.
"WA Police is not withdrawing from Neighbourhood Watch, neither is funding being cut," he said.
He said the proposed changes to Neighbourhood Watch did not have anything to do with recent budget cuts.