Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Money for people to keep homes safe

More than 45,000 homes will have their security improved after a cash injection of nearly £5 million from the government, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell pledged today.

The money has been allocated from the £6million Safer Homes Fund which was set up in April to pay for local handy-people to visit up to 45,000 homes in 93 priority areas. The areas chosen are those where people are less likely to have good home security, such as older people and people on low incomes, will have security devices such as window locks installed, making their houses more secure.

The cash has been awarded to 66 voluntary and community projects who bid for the grants and will use it to help secure homes and provide training, community awareness events and security checks of vulnerable peoples’ homes.

Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said:

“Burglary has fallen nationally by 54 percent since 1997 but there are always changing patterns in crime. We know that during economic downturns certain crimes face upward pressure but we are already taking action to tackle this issue head on.

“Preventing burglary can be as simple as locking your doors and windows, yet 18 per cent of people don’t have proper door locks and 14 per cent don’t have window locks. These grants will help make the homes of thousands of people more secure and show them the simple steps they can take to protect themselves.

“This is just one part of a wider strategy which includes providing more money and resources to 35 areas to tackle burglary and robbery by cracking down on known offenders. We are also supplying free information packs for the public with money off vouchers on home security devices.”

Graeme Gerrard, Deputy Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary and Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on burglary said:

“There are still too many burglaries occurring as a result of poor security and any initiative that makes houses more secure is bound to reduce burglary offences.

“The police service has worked closely on this initiative and welcomes the allocation of additional funding to help secure homes in the most vulnerable areas.

“Police officers are working hard to make life difficult for burglars. By targeting persistent offenders, making best use of forensic science and using neighbourhood officers to patrol vulnerable areas and offer crime prevention advice, we are making local streets and neighbourhoods safer.”

Gillian Guy, Victim Support’s Chief Executive, said:

“We are really pleased to be one of the beneficiaries of the money from the Safer Homes Fund - it will be a major boost to our work on the ground, helping to secure victims’ homes after a crime has taken place.

“We know that practical help is just one part of the support that victims need after a crime - the emotional impact can be devastating, and there is often a long healing process that Victim Support helps with. However, if people know their homes are secure this is an important step towards helping them to get on with their lives.”

There is still more than £1 million of the Safer Homes Fund to be allocated as grants which could help to secure up to 15,000 further properties.

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