StreetSafe Blog

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Streetsafe – December 09

Posted by StreetSafe on November 26, 2009

Burglars beware: they’re after you
Last updated at 13:46, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A MASSIVER crackdown on Christmas crime kicks off next month when police teams will visit 1,500 homes during the first three days of a month long operation.
Crime reporter SUZANNE MURPHY spoke to those involved in the biggest burglary operation ever

SALTHOUSE has the highest number of break-ins in Barrow, with 75 incidents over a three year period.

Across South Cumbria burglaries have shot up by 39 per cent in the last 17 months.

A new crackdown and awareness campaign kicks off on December 1 to try to tackle the issue.

It will start with a three-day awareness campaign in Salthouse but extend across the borough over the next month.

Police say that half of these break-ins were preventable, as burglars got in via unlocked doors and windows to help themselves to cash and valuables.

Now in its eighth year, the highly successful Operation Streetsafe is heading to Salthouse to make sure locals keep themselves safe in the run-up to Christmas and don’t become victims of crime.

A new Burglary Action Group has also been set up.

It is made up of representatives from the police, NHS Cumbria, Fire and Rescue, Age Concern, Trading Standards, Neighbourhood Watch and Barrow Housing Association.

Its aim is to not only drive down the numbers of burglaries in Salthouse but right across the town.

By pooling resources, the task force hopes to tackle the problem by raising awareness among the local community and delivering vital crime prevention advice to residents on their doorsteps.

This month-long burglary crackdown will kick off with the three-day “mega Streetsafe”, which will see more than 50 police officers and many other group representatives visit more than 1,500 homes in Barrow to discuss crime prevention and offer free assessments on existing home security.

In the lead-up to the campaign, officers have turned to local youngsters for help and have launched a poster competition within three local schools in Barrow.

Pupils in year five and six at Sacred Heart, Greengate Juniors and St George’s schools are submitting their final designs for a crime prevention poster which will be used to raise awareness of burglary in the local community.

Detective Inspector Dave Banks, who is coordinating the operation, said: “Communities in Barrow tell us that burglary is a top priority and this is a problem we are committed to tackling.

“When comparing other areas across the country, the numbers of burglaries in Barrow are very low and teams of officers work incredibly hard to ensure this continues.

“However, one burglary is one too many and we have identified a particular neighbourhood that has the highest numbers of burglaries in the town and we want the local community to be confident that we are doing all we can to ensure criminals no longer think of the area as an easy target.

“In the lead-up to Christmas, teams of officers will be out and about in over 45 streets in Salthouse to hand out leaflets to local residents and experts will be on hand to provide advice on how to make homes more secure.

“Over half of the burglaries reported to us happen at insecure premises so we want to proactively provide residents with all the tools they need to help keep their homes and Christmas presents safe from burglars this year.

“Thankfully, like other areas across our county, Barrow is one of the safest places to live in the UK. However between April 2008 to October 2009, we have seen a 39 per cent increase in burglaries in South Cumbria.

“As we raise awareness of the problem within the neighbourhood and gather the support of the public, we hope to significantly reduce this and give burglars a miserable Christmas this year.”

Steve Robson, neighbourhood manager of the Central and Hindpool Neighbourhood Management Team, is fully behind the initiative and will see his wardens out and about to offer support and help.

He added: “We will be working on the Streetsafe event but are also readily available to support residents with security advice and property marking after this campaign.

“We know burglary is low in our area but we’d like to see that number even lower, which is why we’re so happy to be involved.

“Residents can also call into our town centre office on Dalton Road, where we also carry a range of advice and information leaflets for residents.”

PC John Irving, who has been at the forefront of Streetsafe for nearly a decade, said this was the largest operation ever in Barrow.

He said: “We are aiming at consulting with 1,500 residents in their homes, listening to their concerns and resolving community problems.

“I must thank all of the agencies and volunteers beforehand who are helping deliver this mega Streetsafe, without their support and commitment we would not be able to achieve the outstanding results we can.

“As well as the key Christmas safety messages we are delivering, we are also promoting active citizens, Neighbourhood Watch, youth diversion projects, recycling and various healthy living messages on behalf of our partner agencies.

“Residents can be reassured that we will act on all the information they tell us, as we want to make their neighbours safer, cleaner and stronger.

“For up to date information on the operation before, during and after, I would encourage people to follow Streetsafe on Twitter and Facebook, as we will be posting regular updates about the operation.”

Dave Coverdale, locality manager for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and chair of the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) for Barrow, said: “The focus for the Streetsafe activity in early December will be on highlighting the issues centred around burglary and in particular, insecure premises, where the potential for acquisitive crime may be increased.

“This is one of a number of priorities identified by the CDRP through its statutory assessment process and Streetsafe is seen as one of a range of activities that can be utilised by partners to help tackle and reduce particular crime issues and enhance community engagement across the borough.”

Mark Roach, Barrow fire station watch manager, said the local brigade had been fully involved in all Streetsafe operations for the last eight years, and is looking forward to getting involved in the December crackdown.

He said: “During the event, in addition to gathering information on a wide range of community issues, we will be on hand to fit smoke alarms where necessary and take referrals for follow-up home fire safety checks and education.

“Previous events have been successful in allowing us to meet a wider cross-section of the community and, by providing the opportunity to fit the smoke alarms free of charge and deliver home safety education, we are able to enhance the safety of people’s lives in their own homes.

“We will also be taking the opportunity to raise seasonal safety issues centred around the potential for increased fire hazards at this time of year.”

Trading Standards will also be on hand to help people avoid becoming a victim of doorstep con artists.

Austin Shields, from Trading Standards, said: “As partners in Barrow CDRP we are pleased to be involved in this event.

“Throughout the year we assist residents who have become victims of rogue traders and bogus callers, whose only aim is to get into homes to distract people and steal their personal belongings or try to trick householders into paying for unnecessary work.

“By participating in this event, we hope to drive home the message that householders should not deal with cold callers and as a result make residents feel safer in their own homes.”

l A web chat on the special Streetsafe operation is set to take place on the Evening Mail website on December 8. Detective Inspector Dave Banks and crime prevention officer Sharon Livesey will be logging on to http://www.nwemail.co.uk to answer your questions between 6pm and 7.30pm.

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