Locks and lights will be fitted to hundreds of homes in County Durham and Darlington as part of an £800,000 scheme to reduce burglary and improve community safety.
Earlier this year, the Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) submitted two bids to the Home Office’s £25million Safer Streets Fund, which provides money to evidence-based initiatives across the country that aim to reduce burglaries and other acquisitive crimes.
Both bids were successful, with £298,918 awarded to Darlington (Northgate and North Road areas), and £485,360 to Horden.
The areas were specifically chosen based on specific criteria as they both have high rates of acquisitive crime, in particular, burglary.
The bid had to meet exacting crime prevention criteria and will be used to pay for victims of residential burglary to receive the following security measures to prevent them from becoming a repeat victim:
• Window locks
• Internal lights on a timer
• Double locks / deadlocks on external doors
• External lights on a sensor
Those houses in close proximity to the victim household will also receive the security measures.
The crime prevention team will also provide tailored crime prevention advice, with the aim of making victims feel safer and to prevent the crime from happening again.
Work on the project is expected to begin in early September and will be carried out by Darlington Borough Council and Durham County Council, with support from the PCVC’s office, Durham Constabulary, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service and the Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS).
It is hoped the intervention will reduce residential burglary, improve community safety and make the areas better places to live and work.
Durham Constabulary chief constable Jo Farrell said: “Burglary can be one of the most devastating crimes for victims – the impact on individuals, families and communities is significant. Preventing this type of crime from happening in the first place and keeping people safe is a key priority for us.
“The Safer Streets funding will allow us to try an innovative and systematic approach in Horden and the Northgate and North Road areas of Darlington, with the aim of making the areas safer places to live, improve residents’ quality of life and increase community cohesion.”
Acting Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Steve White, said: “It is fantastic that we have been successful in our bids for both County Durham and Darlington. It will help to make a real difference as we work with our partners to address acquisitive crime in key hotspot areas.
“If we work together with our local communities to prevent crime from happening in the first place, we can help to reduce demand on our frontline service, reduce the number of victims and make our communities safer.”
The security measures will be fitted in properties by teams from the local authorities, who will ensure all precautions are taken to be COVID-compliant.
Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Darlington Council’s cabinet member for stronger communities, said: “This is just one of the ways we’re working with police and other partners to help our local communities and keep them safe.
“There’s also lots of advice available on how residents can help protect themselves, and their homes, such as locking doors and windows when you go out, don’t leave valuables in full view of windows, leave a light on, look out for your neighbours and report any suspicious activity.”
Joanne Waller, head of community protection from Durham County Council, said: “This funding is a great opportunity for us to crack down on crime, such as burglaries, which have a devastating impact on the families and individuals who have been targeted, as well as the wider community.
“We will be using this money to work with our partners and residents to establish where we can put these measures in place to help our residents continue to feel safe, supported and protected. Our priority is always to make sure our county remains a safe and welcoming place to live, work and visit.”