A scheme to protect hundreds of homes across County Durham and Darlington by reducing burglaries and improving community safety is set to be expanded.
This summer, it was announced that Darlington (Northgate and North Road areas) and Horden were to receive a share of the Home Office’s £25 million Safer Streets Fund.
The areas were specifically chosen based on specific criteria as they both have high rates of acquisitive crime, in particular, burglary.
As part of the scheme, a victim of burglary and those houses close by were given the go-ahead to have several security measures installed to help reduce the chances of further incidents occurring.
Since its launch, there has been a fall in the number of burglaries in these areas, so it is now possible to allow more households to be eligible for the home improvements.
The Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) submitted the bids for these two areas to the scheme, which provides money to evidence-based initiatives across the country that aim to reduce burglaries and other acquisitive crimes.
The bid had to meet exacting crime prevention criteria and is used to pay for victims of residential burglary to receive window locks, internal lights on a timer, double locks/deadlocks on external doors and external lights on a sensor.
In addition to these measures being installed by Darlington Borough Council and Durham County Council, police officers have been out and about speaking to residents and distributing leaflets containing security and crime prevention advice.
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service and the Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS) are also supporting the initiative.
It is hoped these positive changes for residents will improve the community and make it a safer place to live and work.
Chief Constable Jo Farrell, of Durham Constabulary, said: “It is fantastic news that we are going to be able to offer security measures to a greater number of households to prevent them from becoming victims of burglary.
“This type of crime can have a huge impact on people, no-one should feel terrified to live in their own home.
“These changes should make a significant difference to the quality of life of residents living in these areas and ultimately make our streets safer.”
Steve White, Acting Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, said: “Work has been underway in the last six weeks to improve the safety of residents by making their properties more secure and by engaging with local communities to provide crime prevention advice.
“I am delighted that the scheme will be expanded so that further residents can benefit from the project.
“I look forward to seeing positive outcomes for our communities as my office continues to work with Durham Police, Durham County Council, Darlington Borough Council and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service to prevent burglaries and make our areas safer places to live.”
Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Darlington Borough Council’s deputy leader, said: “It’s great news that residents in Darlington will benefit from this scheme and we will continue to work with police and other partners to ensure safer streets for all.”
Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection, said: “We are delighted that this scheme could be expanded to help protect even more residents’ homes in County Durham.
“This project has been a great demonstration of work with our partners to make sure 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.”
For more details, visit www.durham-pcc.gov.uk/Your-Police/Safer-Streets-Project.aspx