PCC joins forces with police to launch scheme aimed at reducing crime in hotspot areas
An initiative to protect residents from becoming victims of burglary or theft in Norwich has been launched thanks to funding secured by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN).
The Safer Streets scheme will see officers delivering 3,942 property marking kits across the North Central area of Norwich throughout June after the OPCCN received a government grant of more than £350,000.
The ‘Safer Streets Fund’ was set up by the Home Office in October 2019 and forms part of the government’s commitment to tackling crime. The aim is to reduce the number of thefts, robberies and burglaries in hotspot areas across the UK.
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) were invited to bid for a chunk of the £25 million national funding available by January of last year. As a result, the OPCCN successfully obtained £363,164 of this fund to help improve the home security of vulnerable properties in areas of North Central Norwich, which were identified as hotspots.
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie said: "Finding and returning stolen property is so important in supporting victims of crime, and these marking kits will really help the police to do this.
"But what’s even more important is that we do everything we can to make residents feel safe by preventing crime happening in the first place.
"Would-be burglars should know that I am committed to working with partners across the county to bring justice to victims. But I also want to reassure people that preventing crime is as important to me as it is to everyone living in our communities, and I will ensure that my team continues to take every opportunity to bring funding for initiatives such as this into the county.”
*In 2019, when the funding was secured, North Central Norwich was hardest hit by burglaries – with 84 taking place, and a total of 329 other acquisitive crimes (theft, shoplifting, robbery and vehicle crime). This is a rate four times higher than the average for Norfolk.
However, Norfolk’s acquisitive crime rates per 1,000 households decreased by 23% between 2017 and 2019 - partly due to work between the police and partners to keep communities safe.
The kits include property marking equipment which can be used as a deterrent and increases the chances of stolen items being returned. It also includes stickers and posters which can be displayed on property to alert people of the scheme and deter criminals.
As part of the delivery of these packs, officers will be engaging with residents to educate them on the Safer Streets initiative, how to use their kits and crime prevention. Residents will also be encouraged to sign up to the local Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
The kits will be delivered in North Central Norwich because it was identified as a key hotspot for these types of crime. Funding was also provided by the OPCCN to implement other security measures, all of which have been successfully installed. These included:
- Improved security to 121 properties owned by Norwich City Council and the Norwich Housing Society
- Installation of ‘alley gates’ between private properties
- Supported and resourced the local Neighbourhood Watches
Chief Superintendent Dave Buckley, of Norfolk Constabulary, said: "We welcome this funding as it will allow us to provide additional investment into preventative measures including home security in the areas most affected by these types of crime.
"As today marks the launch of the scheme, officers will be engaging with members of the community in order to educate them on the initiative and how they can get involved.
"We remain committed to working alongside our partners to reduce crime rates across Norwich and the rest of the county. We hope this initiative will deter criminals and reassure those communities who have felt the impact of these types of crime.”
Lou Rawsthorne, executive director of community services at Norwich City Council, added: "We’re really pleased that this funding for crime intervention continues to be designated to community safety in Norwich, to help make people feel safe in their homes and neighbourhoods.
"The new project complements the ongoing safer streets fund work in the city, which include the council run alley gate scheme and other physical security improvement measures to our social housing properties.”
Les Rowlands, Multi-Scheme Administrator at Norwich Neighbourhood Watch, said: "There are many different reasons to get involved in Neighbourhood Watch. Apart from improving safety around your home, it’s also about building up community spirit with local people in the neighbourhood working together."
*The Safer Streets launch has previously been delayed due to the global pandemic.