A survey has found almost 83% of people living in Newark feel safer thanks to a major project to cut crime and reduce fear within the community.
The questionnaire was launched last month to gather feedback on a series of improvements undertaken in the Chatham Court and Northgate areas of the town as part of the Safer Streets project.
These include the installation of 400 upgraded street lights in the area worth £150,000, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to detect crime, 400 extra hours of police patrols to reassure residents, free security upgrades on 140 people’s homes including new fencing, high-security doors and windows and 4G solar-powered security cameras at over 30 houses, including victims of burglary and their neighbours.
The project, which was undertaken by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Nottinghamshire Police, Newark and Sherwood District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, also funded a dedicated Burglary Reduction Officer for the area.
Survey results show these improvements have had an overwhelmingly positive impact on public confidence, with 82.6% of residents taking part saying they now felt safe or very safe as a result of the work.
In addition, 67.1% of respondents said they now felt safer or much safer leaving their homes unoccupied, 69.1% said Safer Streets improvements had made them feel safer or much safer at night, 67.8% said improved CCTV had made them feel safer or much safer and more than half (50.3%) believe their homes are now less likely to be burgled. Meanwhile, 63.1% said improved levels of street lighting had made them feel safer.
The results come as new figures released by Nottinghamshire Police show overall crime in Newark has fallen by 16.89% over the past 12 months.
Nottinghamshire PCC Paddy Tipping said: “We have set out to make a real tangible difference to public safety in these areas and that is exactly what we have delivered.
“Not only are people feeling safer in their homes and on the streets of Newark, crime is actually down and fewer crimes mean fewer victims.
“The new technology, resources and skills we have secured through Safer Streets will help us to keep it that way in the future.”
Chief Constable Craig Guildford added: “We are really pleased with these results which show people feel safer in the Chatham Court and Northgate areas of Newark as a result of the Safer Streets project.
“Burglary is a deeply upsetting crime that has a lasting impact on its victims and it is particularly encouraging residents feel more protected as a result of these additional security measures, as well as less fearful.
“Our own data reveals crime has fallen substantially in the town over the past year which I hope will provide further reassurance that robust enforcement, alongside proactive prevention work in the community, is making a big difference to their safety.
“Among the many successes of this project is teamwork, with partners working seamlessly together for the benefit of our communities in Newark. It is vital we now keep up the good work and sustain the improved levels of confidence, engagement and reassurance this project has delivered and we will be working closely with our colleagues to achieve that.”
Councillor David Lloyd, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Since the start of Safer Streets, we have been committed to putting measures in place that go way beyond the short-term, but instead build the foundations of a safe, supported and protected future for our residents and I’m so pleased this is reflected in the survey.
“Surveys in recent years have highlighted that crime, and the fear of crime, were people's top priorities especially in parts of Newark where feelings of safety were significantly lower than the national and county average, most notably at night-time.
“We are absolutely committed to making sure our district remains a safe and welcoming place to live, work and visit and it’s great to hear that the measures have made, and will continue to make a real difference on residents’ lives.”
Following the success of the project, partners are now collaborating to deliver further target hardening (security improvement) opportunities in three other local crime hotspots in the Beacon and Castle wards of Newark.
The work, costing in the region of £102k, is being part-funded by the OPCC with partners contributing matched funding, and will be supported with high-visibility patrols and environmental clean-up activity. It will also cover the cost of the Burglary Reduction Officer’s post for a further year.
Project leaders will also continue to engage with residents in the Chatham Court and Northgate areas to encourage more people to get involved in crime prevention activities including Neighbourhood Watch.
The survey showed more than a quarter of residents in these areas were either interested in getting more involved in safety activities or were already playing an active role.
The area will also benefit from a new Community Hub at Chatham Court where local people will be able to access policing, housing and other council services in person.
The Safer Streets Fund forms part of the government’s action to tackle crime and PCCs were invited to bid for funding.
Enquiries: Sallie Blair 07702 541401
Posted on Friday 26th March 2021