Theft offences in some of the Cleveland’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods have dropped significantly following a £1m investment in crime prevention measures.
A successful bid by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) secured £1.034m from the Home Office’s Safer Streets fund. Cash paid for targeted work in Burn Valley, Hartlepool, Newport, Middlesbrough and South Bank, Redcar and Cleveland.
The project, which ran from 2020 to 2021 aimed to cut acquisitive – or theft-related – crimes such as burglaries and robbery.
Figures just released by the Commissioner’s Office reveal rates for theft-related crimes dropped in all three areas.
The OPCC used a base line figure of crime rates per 1,000 population in 2019/20 – the year before the Safer Streets project began.
It measured crime rates in the years after the project to see if there had been any improvements.
By March 2022, and in comparison with the 2019/20 base line data:
• Burglary rates have dropped by 49 per cent in Burn Valley, Hartlepool.
• In Newport, acquisitive crime reduced by 35 per cent.
• In South Bank, burglaries dipped by 19 per cent.
Sustained reductions in burglary and acquisitive crimes between April 2021 and March 2022 show that initial reductions – particularly in Burn Valley and Newport – were not just down the national reductions in crime brought in by COVID-19.
Cleveland PCC Steve Turner said: “This first round of the Home Office’s Safer Streets funding showed we could work successfully in partnership with a range of agencies to deliver real benefits for residents in crime-hit neighbourhoods.
“Our achievements in reducing acquisitive crimes were despite being given a short time to deliver the project and working restrictions, both caused by the COVID pandemic.
“We used our experience from the first project to inform bids for future Home Office funding, which has resulted in further Safer Streets grants.
“This will help us support another two communities in Cleveland to live safer lives.”
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “The figures speak for themselves – the Safer Streets funding made a massive difference in cutting crime and making neighbourhoods safer.
“Decent, law-abiding residents have an absolute right to live free from crime, intimidation and anti-social behaviour and we will continue to do everything in our power to stamp it out.
“This initiative shows what we can achieve by working together, and we’ll be fully backing future funding bids.”
Measures introduced as part of first Safer Streets project included:
- Improvements to CCTV and street lighting
- Securing alley gates
- Screening void properties
- Employing a Community Cohesion and victim support workers to support the local community
- Distribution and installation of crime prevention packs to hundreds of households
Cleveland OPCC worked in partnership with Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland Councils to deliver crime prevention measures.
A number of other support agencies were also involved in the project. They included Cleveland Police, Hartlepool Community Safety Team, Victim Care and Advice Service, Cleveland Fire Support Network, the Joseph Rowntree Trust, Thirteen Housing and Beyond Housing.