Posted: Friday 1st May 2015
Living under the shadow of crime can be debilitating. Regardless of whether we have been a victim of crime or not, we might magnify the risks and this can force us to become prisoners in our own homes, especially if we are elderly or vulnerable in some way.
From our extensive engagement work, we know that people’s fear of criminality in any given neighbourhood usually bears no or little relationship to the probability of actually becoming a victim of crime. This means that we need to offer a continuous source of reassurance if we are to improve people’s perception of safety, increase their confidence and contribute to their overall wellbeing.
Our recent priority meeting in Calverton and the cluster villages has identified antisocial behaviour and drug dealing as ongoing areas of public fear. Both of these are what I would call very ‘visible’ crimes – offences which can be seen day in and day out in the streets surrounding people’s homes. It’s no surprise then that both have such a dramatic impact on people’s confidence and safety levels. In response, we are working very closely with our criminal justice and local authority partners to tackle the issue head-on.
We are currently in the process of obtaining a new CCTV camera at the junction of Flatts Lane in Calverton, which will be operated and monitored by Gedling Borough Council. The camera will not only provide a means of gathering evidence of any wrongdoing but it will also serve as a warning to anyone intent on committing antisocial behaviour or other crimes in the shopping area. In addition, it will help officers respond to crime quickly as there will be a direct line to police from the control room.
We should not underestimate the impact large groups of people congregating in public areas can have on elderly members of the community, even if the individuals are fully law-abiding. It can seriously limit independence and prompt irrational feelings of fear inside the home as well as out. The presence of the new camera will hopefully reduce intimidation by offering an extra layer of reassurance and protection. It will also be a welcomed addition by retailers who will be grateful for the deterrent value and the evidence-gathering role it will play in tackling shoplifting.
Whatever police tactics or reassurance measures we put in place, the public remain a crucial part of the jigsaw in solving crime and keeping our streets and neighbourhoods safe. Bringing criminals to justice requires intelligence – most of which is generated by normal, everyday people who maintain a watchful eye over their communities. If you have any suspicions about criminal activity, don’t hesitate but report your concerns to police on the non-urgent number 101. Your information could be the key to unlocking a safer Calverton.
Police and Crime Commissioner