DESPITE a massive increase in the number of burglaries in the district, Monday night’s meeting of Alnwick’s Police Liaison Committee heard proof that Neighbourhood Watch crime prevention schemes are working well.
Statistics released show an eight per cent increase in house breaking for the district, compared with the same period (January to April) last year, but a massive 79 per cent rise in the number of ‘other’ burglaries from 77 to 138.
Yet PC Brian Finlayson, the crime prevention officer from Alnwick Police, said only one incident of theft had occurred in a Neighbourhood Watch scheme area over the same period of time.
PC Finlayson said that occurred when a tracksuit had been left on a wall and was taken, so it was not the fault of the scheme, but the people themselves for being careless.
“We have had a series of burglaries in the past in that area,” commented PC Finlayson, who pointed out all the other thefts in the area had occurred outside Neighbourhood Watch schemes.
Chief Inspector Frank Barron said Neighbourhood Watch schemes were Northumbria Police policy, with the Chief Constable pressing them very hard.
“We are doing very well with them,” he added.
For the uninitiated, Neighbourhood Watch is a crime prevention system whereby people in a small area such as a village or housing estate get together to stop crime. This is done by crime prevention, accurate observation of suspicious things and regular and prompt contact with the police.