A landlord who benefitted from thousands of pounds worth of free security equipment at his properties says the “amazing” Safer Streets scheme has made his tenants and the whole community safer.
Gopal Sahota has four student properties in Lenton and jumped at the chance to have burglary prevention equipment fitted – including video Ring doorbells, CCTV, motion sensor lighting and window restrictors.
His properties in Rothesay Grove and Derby Grove were among 400 in the Arboretum, Radford, Lenton and The Park that benefitted from the so-called “target hardening” measures, which were given out for free in areas that had been hot spots for burglaries.
The project was a huge success as not one of those homes has been targeted by burglars since. In the wider surrounding area as a whole, burglary fell by a total of 43% after the project.
The offer came after the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire secured £432,000 of funding through the Home Office’s Safer Streets fund in July 2021.
Now, up to 160 more burglary victims in Bestwood and Top Valley are being offered the same free security devices as part of the latest £750,000 Safer Streets funding for Nottingham in July 2022, with over 80 residents already having signed up.
Mr Sahota encouraged people to get in touch with Safer Street burglary reduction officer PCSO Amardeep Sandhu if there are interested as the scheme had made a real difference in the community where his properties are situated.
“The amazing thing is it’s enhanced the properties so they’re safer, the tenants feel safer and the community is safer because it’s had an impact all around,” said Mr Sahota.
“It’s also a great feature to add to the properties to say that they have got a higher level of security compared to other properties in the area. And the most amazing thing is that since this has been implemented, we’ve had a 43% reduction in burglary within the area. Now, that’s really good news.”
PCSO Amardeep Sandhu, of Nottinghamshire Police, was drafted in as a burglary reduction officer as part of the Safer Streets scheme and worked alongside Nottingham City Council’s burglary reduction officer Julian Best on the target hardening scheme.
“For me, the Safer Streets scheme was always about putting the residents first, not just securing the property, but making them feel safer. So not only when they go to bed at night do they feel they can rest more easily, but also when they are away from the property there’s fewer worries and concerns about the security of their homes,” said PCSO Sandhu.
“And I’m very proud of it because of all the properties that have been target hardened and assessed, I’ve not seen any records of them being repeated for breaks or burglars in the area and hopefully it will stay that way for the forthcoming future.
“And if the scheme is rolled out again in the wider area, hopefully, everyone else can benefit from it as well.”
Safer Streets aims to reduce neighbourhood crime – such as burglary, theft and vehicle crime – as well as antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls.
As well as target hardening, it has funded a range of other projects including CCTV and street lighting to make people feel safer in public spaces, automatic number plate recognition cameras to allow police to track criminals using the county’s road network, Safe Space schemes in shops to give people in distress a place of refuge, and Safer Streets wardens who carry out high-visibility patrols to tackle antisocial behaviour.
Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “The Safer Streets projects we have already run have been a resounding success and have a real impact on crime and people’s perceptions of crime.
“As Mr Sahota can testify, previous rounds helped reduce crime and make people feel safer and we are now hoping to have the same impact in Bestwood and Top Valley, where target hardening is ongoing right now, and a number of other areas across the city and county with our latest round of funding.”
Chief Inspector Chris Pearson, of Nottinghamshire Police, added: “Here in Nottingham we will do everything we can to lock up burglars.
“We have a dedicated team of detectives who have put some of our most prolific burglars behind bars.
“Burglary has reduced across most areas of the city and this funding will offer further protection to residents.
“But burglary can be avoided with simple steps such as keeping front doors locked and windows closed. If everyone took these steps it would be extremely difficult for burglars to operate here, especially in student areas such as the Arboretum, Radford and Lenton.”
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire was successful in securing a total of £3m of Safer Streets funding across the city and county in the most recent round of funding in July. Since then it has been working alongside local authority partners including Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire Police, to deliver the projects.
Councillor Neghat Khan, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Safety and Inclusion at Nottingham City Council, said: “The experience Mr Sahota has had is precisely the reason for the Safer Streets scheme – to make people feel safer and be safer in their neighbourhoods.
“Break-ins and burglaries are a deeply upsetting crime which undermines people’s confidence and ability to feel comfortable in their own properties.
“These measures help to restore that confidence and comfort and deter further incidents in those neighbourhoods.”