Wednesday 21 February 2024
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Nottingham

Nottingham student action group criticises PCC’s ‘free video doorbells for students’ initiative

“Why are we looking at crime related to students when members of our community are facing knife crime, burglary and theft?"

Video-activated doorbells are to be handed out to students in Nottingham – courtesy of Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

The doorbells will be given to 375 student properties around the Arboretum and Lenton after Caroline Henry (Cons) secured more than £400,000 from the Government to help make Nottingham safer.

She will also use the money to provide free security upgrades for up to 500 residential properties, including new window or door locks, alarms, and outside lighting.

But her plans have been criticised by a community action group run by students, which believes the money should be spent solely on local people.

The group said investing the cash in student properties will only drive a further wedge between students and residents who have “put up with so many problems for so many years.”

Sam Harris, 21, a third-year Nottingham Trent University student who runs Community Action Nottingham, said: “Why are we looking at crime related to students when members of our community are facing knife crime, burglary and theft?

“Students come and go and it should be up to landlords to provide safe and secure properties. Landlords are making profits, year on year, from students. Why are the Government forking out?

“Residents should be the priority. I think this drives another wedge between residents and students in places like Lenton.”

Community Action – made up of around 100 volunteers, the majority students – is  involved in a number of projects that build a positive relationship between students and local residents.

Ms Henry said the reason the funding bid was put in for the Arboretum and Lenton Triangle was because burglary is the number one concern for people living there

However, Lenton Drives and Neighbours Residents’ Association said the biggest concern for people in its area is anti-social behaviour.

Home-Office crime statistics show there were 2,284 reports of anti-social behaviour to police between July 2020 to June 2021 in the Arboretum, compared to 137 burglaries..

In Dunkirk and Lenton in the same period, there were 819 reports of anti-social behaviour compared to 75 burglaries.

Kate Loewenthal, from the residents’ sssociation, added: “If the funding is going towards securing student landlords’ properties – then residents are going to be upset.

• Free video doorbells for students among £432,000 to tackle burglary in Lenton, Arboretum and Hyson Green

“I would rather the money was spent on CCTV cameras and extra policing to manage the anti-social behaviour and drug issues. Drugs are a huge issue here.”

Ms Henry has said the £432,000 will be spent on:

  • Free security upgrades, including CCTV, at up to 500 residential properties, including previous burglary victims and neighbouring properties.
  • Free video-activated doorbell devices for up to 375 student properties.
  • New CCTV cameras in Bridlington Park
  • A burglary reduction officer to liaise with burglary victims and undertake risk assessments.
  • Enhanced policing, including a day of action every month, to disrupt and deter criminality.
  • Operation Graduate to ensure “the safety of students returning to the city and help prevent burglaries.”
  • Recruitment of ‘Community Champions’ through Nottingham City Council to engage with the wider community and student population

Ms Henry added: “This is a significant amount of money and will make a real difference to people’s safety at home and in public places.

“People living in Arboretum and Lenton Triangle have told us burglary is their number one concern and this project is about taking robust action to address their fears.

“I have promised to listen to local people and act on what they tell me.

“Not only will this project equip residents with the physical security improvements they need to make them safe, it will also deliver increased visible policing in key areas. This is what everybody wants.”