The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), working with the Central Bedfordshire Council recently spoke with residents in the Manshead area of Dunstable, as part of the Safer Streets project in Bedfordshire.
The Safer Streets project aims to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the area by investing in preventative approaches to reduce criminality and increase the level of pride in the community.
Safer Streets is a multi-partnership team made up of the OPCC, the local authority and Bedfordshire Police. In the recent activity in the Manshead area, the team completed 256 door knocks to raise awareness of the project and listen to feedback from residents.
To date, 1553 visits have been made to residents in the area, with 212 Smart Waters kits given out and 83 Ring doorbells installed.
Antonina Belcheva, Safer Streets Project Manager at the OPCC said: “By working together in partnership, we are able to engage with the local community, listen to their concerns and complete a number of community surveys which we hope will ultimately help to improve the quality of life of the residents.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner won funding from The Home Office earlier this year which will pay for the following in the Manshead area of Dunstable:
- 15 state-of-the art CCTV cameras
- New and upgraded street lighting
- Landscaping of target areas
- Radios for businesses to help to tackle retail crime linked to the Councils CCTV control room
- Establishing a Street Watch and Dog Watch in the community
- Home Safety such as Ringdoor bells and SmartWater for residents of the area
Police and Crime Commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye said “Safer Streets isn’t just about tackling criminal issues, is also about getting the residents of this area to take back their community and be proud of the work they have done in creating a better place to live.
“Acquisitive crime is a primary focus, but we will be tackling environmental crime, exploitation and anti-social behaviour. Local police officers and partners are dedicated to being visible and easily accessible in the local area to tackle the issues that matter the most to the community.
“If you’d like to get involved, we are recruiting for Street Watch volunteers. The volunteers carry out activities that improve regular reporting of key issues to the police and local authority, helping to tackle criminality”.
Street Watch groups are having a positive impact across the county. Wigmore Street Watch member Paul, who launched the group in 2019, said: “Dedicating a minimum of two hours per month can make a huge difference in your community, and I would openly encourage anyone who may have second thoughts about either setting up, or joining a scheme, to step forward and help to make a difference in their neighbourhood.
“Regular patrols are not only a positive for the community, but they also have personal health benefits, such as regular exercise, fresh air, and meeting and greeting residents who we may never have crossed paths with had we stayed at home. We have become a mainstay of our community and residents regularly approach our patrols, not just to pass on their thanks for what we are doing, but to also share information regarding suspicious activity or anti-social behaviour issues.”
The project will also help build evidence about the impact of targeted investment in situational prevention in high crime areas to strengthen the case for future investment, both at a local and national level.
If you have any questions about the Safer Streets project, or to join Street Watch, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org