Sunday 23 June 2024
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Hundreds of residents get free locks, doors, lights and security cameras in burglary reduction measures

The £432,000 Safer Streets grant is helping to design out crime by working with various partners.

Hundreds more residents are being offered new locks, doors, security lighting and camera systems.

Nottinghamshire Police, which already has two dedicated teams of detectives investigating burglary offences, recently appointed a specialist burglary reduction officer to prevent offences from happening in the first place.

Initially tasked with supporting around 150 previous victims to improve security measures in their homes, the scheme is now being expanded to include immediate neighbours as well.

PCSO Megan Tuffley started the role in August after the town was awarded government funding after a successful bid by Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry.

The £432,000 Safer Streets grant is helping to design out crime by working with various partners in Mansfield to improve community safety measures such as the quality and coverage of CCTV, expanding the local automatic number plate recognition camera network, and improving street lighting in the Woodlands and Portland ward areas of the town centre.

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The burglary reduction role is part of that wider funding package and has already seen more than 40 addresses ear-marked for security improvements.

Michael, 79, was supported by PCSO Tuffley to have a new CCTV camera installed and is also waiting to have a doorbell camera fitted.

He said: “I was the victim of an attempted burglary three years ago when I woke up to find a guy in my garden after he climbed over my fence. It was a scary experience at the time – especially at my age as the only thing I would really do was shout at him out of the window and phone the police, who came within a few minutes and arrested him.

“When I first saw the letter from the police I was actually concerned it was a speeding ticket, so I was relieved as much as anything when I discovered it was from Megan. She came around, did an assessment and suggested that I had a camera put in.

“The chap came around on Friday to fit it and it’s been great. It gives me peace-of-mind when I go to bed and is also a deterrent for anyone thinking of trying to get over my fence. I’ve also had stickers put up warning of CCTV which should act as a further deterrent to anyone knocking at my door and trying it on.

“I had actually been thinking of getting a camera but it can be hard to know where to start, who to trust or how much it will cost. So to have the police come directly to me has been great because it takes all of that decision making out of my hands.

“I really think this is a great idea, especially for older people who may be reluctant to look into this kind of technology for themselves.”

Burglary has reduced by 34 per cent across Nottinghamshire over the last financial year and the force’s proactive approach to preventing and enforcing against burglary will continue to drive this down further.

PCSO Tuffley said: “Whilst burglary is reducing we are committed to continuing this reduction because we understand how much of a terrible long-term impact every burglary can have on people.

“In most cases it is also an opportunist crime that can be guarded against with some very basic improvements to home security.

“In the vast majority of cases we’re not talking here about master criminals here – we’re dealing with unskilled, opportunist thieves who see an opportunity in something like an open window or an unlit passageway and pounce on it – often in order to fund a drug addiction.

“Those people want an easy life. They want to be in and out quickly and certainly don’t want to run the risk of getting caught. So if they see a CCTV camera, a security light or a strong lock on a garden gate they are far less likely to try and break in.

“My job is to identify areas of weakness in people’s home security and work with them to improved them. If I think a particular device can make a real difference then we will even pay for it to be installed because we know it will help to reduce crime.

“The response I have had so far has been really positive and I have really enjoyed the opportunity to help people protect their home, their families and their belongings.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “This funding is already making a huge difference to people’s lives – you simply cannot put a price on peace of mind and being able to close the door at night and feel safe.

“This is why PCSO Tuffley and the Safer Streets Team are leaving no stone un-turned in their drive to encourage other residents to sign up for these improvements to bolster their home security and reduce their anxiety.

“Taking a proactive approach works – the crime figures are there to prove it. Through this scheme, we will help spare many other residents the misery of becoming a victim of crime.”

Councillor Marion Bradshaw, portfolio holder for safer communities, housing and wellbeing at Mansfield District Council, said: “We welcome the efforts of all the Safer Streets partners to reduce burglaries in Mansfield. Being broken into is a scary and unsettling crime and so improving home security to prevent and deter break-ins makes perfect sense.

“Relatively simple measures such as new locks or security lighting can be really effective in putting off would-be intruders and bring greater peace of mind to residents but often these measures are jobs that remain on people’s ‘to do’ lists until it is too late.”

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