A burglary victim who has benefitted from free security upgrades including a new 4G CCTV camera has praised a Newark safety scheme for helping her to “sleep better at night”.
Amanda, who is disabled due to a degenerative disc disease in her back, returned home from holiday two years ago to find her garden shed had been broken into and her mobility scooter stolen.
The incident left the 54-year-old grandmother traumatised and “feeling dirty” and left her unable to sleep at night.
All that changed when she received a visit by Newark’s dedicated Burglary Reduction Officer, Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Ellie Smalley as part of the second phase of the Safer Streets initiative in Newark.
The project, funded by Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry, Nottinghamshire Police and Newark and Sherwood District Council, will deliver £109k worth of security improvements in the town, including free security upgrades such as free sensor lighting, window restrictors, video doorbells and in some cases WIFI and 4G security cameras to more than 100 homes.
In addition, Nottinghamshire County Council has provided £25k to improve the lighting in the target areas.
Amanda has now benefitted from a new solar-powered security camera, security lighting outside her property, new alarms for her shed and a new post on her gate to increase her security.
She said: “It has made a huge difference to my life and I feel safer. I’m really happy with the work, they’ve been absolutely amazing.
“A couple of years ago, I went on holiday. I hadn’t long bought a mobile scooter. I came back from holiday and my shed had been broken into and the mobility scooter was gone. I’d also taken my grandsons’ two car seats out of the car for the cases before I’d left and they were gone too.
“Luckily, I have house insurance and I didn’t realise that covered me for my shed. The scooter was between £4,000 and £5,000 and I paid for it out of my own money after saving up. It probably sounds stupid but I felt dirty that people had been at my property. It was awful.
“I had sleepless nights and even until recently, I still didn’t sleep properly. The camera has really helped.
“It’s not nice when you’re on your own, you feel vulnerable. Being burgled is something I never want to go through again.”
Last month, the Safer Streets appointed contractor installed the first security devices at properties in the Mill Gate, Bowbridge Road and Barnby Gate areas of the town to reduce their vulnerability to crime.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “As Amanda’s experience shows, burglary has a devastating and long-lasting impact on its victims and anything we can do to restore that confidence and ease anxiety is really important.
“I am delighted the funding we are investing as part of the original Safer Streets project is making a meaningful difference to people like Amanda who deserve to feel safe in their own homes.
“Our Burglary Reduction Officer is busy undertaking assessments to help other families reduce their susceptibility to crime. These are completely free of charge and if eligible, residents could benefit from a range of devices to improve their home security.
“If you are contacted, please take up this offer with open arms. By working together and preventing crime, we can make a difference to our own lives and the lives of our neighbours and the wider community.”
Superintendent Kevin Broadhead, neighbourhood policing lead for Nottinghamshire Police, said: “We know that burglary can have a devastating impact both financially and emotionally on victims not only in the short-term but long-term as well.
“Throughout Newark and the Safer Streets programme we are continuing to work extremely hard to tackle burglaries in the area and make sure people within the community feel safe and supported.
“People are pleased that we are working so hard to prevent burglaries and also seem reassured when we tell them that offences have dropped in the last year.
“Our job is to keep things that way by making things as hard as possible for local burglars and keeping the people in our communities safe and feeling secure in their own homes.
“The force already has two dedicated teams of detectives investigating burglary offences but we also have a specialist burglary reduction officer to prevent offences from happening in the first place.
“We are always aiming to improve the lives of local people and do whatever we can to help them feel safer so we would like to encourage anyone who has been contacted to take advantage of the project.”
The project follows the huge success of the original Safer Streets initiative in the Northgate and Chatham areas of Newark - worth £550,000 - which delivered a series of improvements including Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, free security upgrades at people’s homes and enhanced street lighting.
Amanda said she first became aware of the new phase of the Safer Streets project when a letter was posted through her door.
“To be honest, I left it alone and thought it was someone messing about. Then I got another one so I gave them a ring, it all happened from there,” she said.
“Ellie came to see me and told me what they could do. I was quite surprised that it was all free to be fair.
“My advice to anyone else offered the scheme is to just go for it - don’t be scared. I was at first. I didn’t answer the first letter but quite soon I realised this was a real scheme.
“Have a bit of confidence and get this help because it makes such a difference – it really does. It’s peace of mind.”
The second phase of the Safer Streets project in Newark will deliver high-visibility policing patrols in the area’s high-crime hotspots, offer free security devices, locks and state-of-the-art GPS trackers to cyclists as well as free Bike Register marking, deploy mobile ANPR technology to detect crime, undertake vehicle crime prevention and a catalogue of environmental improvements including the removal of graffiti and fly-tipping waste.
It will also ensure Newark retains its own Burglary Reduction Officer for a further 12 months to help engage with the community and deliver free security assessments.
Eligible residents will be contacted by phone or post and invited to sign up for a free security assessment to determine their needs.
SAFER STREETS MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Saturday 6th November 2021