Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has praised the swift roll-out of a free security scheme helping former victims of crime and their neighbours to feel safer in their homes.
The County Durham and Darlington PCC, in partnership with Darlington Borough Council and Durham County Council, secured almost £1.5m in funding from the Home Office’s Safer Streets 4 Fund to crackdown on anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood crime – and boost women’s safety.
Part of the funding has been invested in free security upgrades at properties in Ferryhill and Peterlee which have previously been impacted by burglary or criminal damage - and neighbouring properties.
The project is delivering a combination of security devices known as WIDE – window locks, indoor lights on timer switches, double door locks or deadbolts and external lights on a sensor. Together, these devices provide more protection against burglary.
So far, 44 households in Ferryhill and 38 households in Peterlee have agreed to the Safer Streets interventions to make their properties safer. A further eight properties in Ferryhill and 12 properties in Peterlee, which are just outside the designated Safer Streets boundaries, have also signed up to the scheme.
The team came to the aid of an elderly householder in Ferryhill whose husband, who suffers with dementia, had climbed out of the window the evening before their visit and went missing for a couple of hours. The team worked in partnership with a local Area Maintenance Representative to arrange for window restrictors and door chimes to be fitted the following day to alert her should the situation arise again. She was also provided with a Ring Door Bell to further boost her security.
A huge engagement project is underway to promote the scheme and encourage householders who live in the qualifying areas to take up the free security offer with awareness-raising events held and attendance at coffee mornings, art cafes and PACT meetings.
Commissioner Allen said: “I’m really proud of the funding we’ve secured through Safer Streets to help residents feel safer in their homes and reduce their risk of becoming victims of crime. It’s clear from the feedback received by the team how important these improvements are for peace of mind and reassurance.
“We are working with our communities and partners in innovative ways to ensure the take up of this fantastic scheme is strong and that those who stand to benefit from these improvements the most are identified at the earliest opportunity.
“Any type of crime impacting the home is a violation that can take many years to recover from. If these devices spare just one resident the distress and trauma of becoming a victim of crime in the future, then it has all been worth it.
“I made a promise when I was elected to make the communities of County Durham and Darlington safer, stronger and more resilient to crime and anti-social behaviour. Empowering our residents to take proactive action against risk is part of this vision and I’m really grateful for the commitment of the team in making this happen so quickly so that the benefits to our communities can be felt immediately.”
Following the success of the scheme, additional Ring Door Bells have been ordered for Peterlee and will be installed shortly.
Safety officers have also trialled joint visits in Ferryhill with an Area Maintenance Representative to ensure improvements are installed quickly and that residents are aware of the project to boost public confidence.
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