What is going on, why are the towns such as Houghton Regis seeing a rise in crime? It seems every time we look on Facebook there are more reports of criminal activity throughout Houghton Regis.
Problems arise, action is needed, support is lacking and tension is rising.
It appears that residents are nearly at the point of taking things into their own hands.
Can you blame them? No…they are trying to defend and protect their homes, livelihoods and families.
It is concerning when you read headlines on news pages such as ‘Police are very close to losing control on the streets.’ Metro.co.uk recently revealed some interesting statistics about policing and crime:
•There were 21,331 fewer police officers in England and Wales as of March this year compared with the same point in 2010, according to the Home Office
•Total officer numbers across the 43 police forces were at 122,404 as of March, the lowest number since comparable records began in 1996
•The Institute for Fiscal studies said that in the last eight years, central government funding of the police has fallen by around 20%
•Figures have shown that 606 police stations have closed since 2010, leaving some cities, such as Bath and St Albans, with no station at all
•Gloucestershire has lost 21 out of 28 stations while 100 stations in London have shut in the past eight years
•Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, admitted the country’s largest police force had ‘run out of things to sell’ after it had been forced to sell off more than £1 billion worth of property over the past six years
As a result of lack of funding, criminals are becoming more bold and in a lot of cases, not deterred by CCTV anymore.
Sgt Kempton who joined Dorset Police in 2000 was quoted as saying:
“What happens when you have a station closed is you withdraw from the community,” he said. “When we leave completely it leaves a hole in the community and if we’re not careful that hole is filled with criminality. Crime goes up and trust in the police goes down, because it’s harder to trust someone you never see. When people trust us they tell us what’s going on.” And added: “Selling police stations is a symptom of a wider problem, which is the gross underfunding of the police service.”
What are the government doing to help police funding in Bedfordshire? Andrew Selous MP for South West Beds recently spoke in the Houses of Parliament addressing the unfair treatment of Bedfordshire Police funding.
If you go to the Facebook page for ‘Don’t Let Dunstable Die’ you can see and listen to Andrew speaking.
The South West Bedfordshire MP told Police Minister, Nick Hurd, that the unfair treatment of Bedfordshire Police’s funding, which has gone on since 2004, is completely unsupportable and needs to be dealt with now.
In brief…Andrew Selous MP stated:
“I know that the Minister cares deeply about these issues. The Chair of the Public Accounts Committee is right when she draws attention to the unfairness of the formula, which has been unfair since damping was brought in in 2004. Four hundred people turned up to a meeting with the police in my constituency just a couple of weeks ago. That should give my right hon. Friend an indication of the level of concern about this issue. We in Bedfordshire cannot wait until the next comprehensive spending review. Because of the unfairness in funding, we do not get what the national formula says we should get, and we have not done so since 2004. That needs action now.”
The Police Minister Nick Hurd responded with:
“I congratulate my hon. Friend on being absolutely assiduous in making representations to me about Bedfordshire policing, about which I know he cares deeply. His passion is shared by Kathryn Holloway, the police and crime commissioner, who is in regular contact with me about these matters. He knows that Bedfordshire has had another £3.2 million this year, and I am sure he knows that the force has put in applications to the special grant programme. He will also know that the long-term solution is through the CSR and the application of a fairer funding formula. He knows from the conversations that we have had that I am personally absolutely committed to this, but I undertake to work closely with him, the PCC and Bedfordshire police over the next two years as they work through the challenges that they face. I completely understand the concern that he has expressed so well on behalf of his constituents.”
If there is anymore to report on this case we will include it in our next article.
According to ‘Dunstable Today’, figures show that the Dunstable and Houghton Regis hub is understaffed, with two PCs and four PCSOs short of what is required.
Furthermore, statistics from Bedfordshire Police show that the ratio of crime per head in Dunstable and Houghton Regis is now higher than Luton – with one crime for every 47 people in Dunstable, one in 59 in Houghton Regis – versus one in 63 in Luton and one per 100 in Leighton Buzzard.
Martin Kennedy, the Houghton Regis Town Councillor is quoted to have said:
“Policing has been the number one concern on the doorstep whilst we have been canvassing over the last few months. Foot patrols and visible police presence at known hot spots will raise the confidence of the law abiding population, increasing community confidence and engagement.”
He also added, “Leighton Buzzard and the villages have nearly twice as many PCs in Neighbourhood Policing as Houghton Regis and Dunstable combined. Houghton has a crime rate twice that of Leighton, and I cannot believe that operational police would consider this a sensible use of resources.”
Cllr Kennedy claimed Houghton Regis was being shortchanged for political reasons by the Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway.
The Houghton Regis community are pulling together to do what they can to preserve a town that they call home. Social media can be a very useful channel of communication and Houghton Regis groups on Facebook are actively trying to build up support and structure.
There are groups such as:
•The Houghton Regis Watch Group
•Houghton Regis… What’s occurring in our community?
•Houghton Regis Neighbour Alerts
•Houghton Regis News Desk
Criminals are becoming more savvy and bold!
Common sense tells us a lot of things we should do to protect our homes but here is a refresher list just in case you have missed something:
•Look after each other in your neighbourhood, keep an eye out for unusual activity and make people aware. With Facebook groups it is easy to do that
•If you are going on holiday tell neighbours so they can keep an eye on your home for you. You could ask them to park one of their cars on your drive or cut your lawn so it looks like you’re home and put wheelie bins back after they have been emptied
•Keep an eye on the elderly in your community, give them a helping hand if need be. If you know of unusual activity make them aware without scaring them – some may not have online access to keep up with Facebook groups
•Lock your doors, windows and outbuildings – don’t make it easy for an intruder
•Don’t be tempted to leave your front door open in hot temperatures if you aren’t in that area of the property. If you’re gardening in the back garden, don’t leave your front door open
•If you are hot at night don’t leave your large casement windows open •When you go out, lock your doors and windows
•Secure your back door – people tend to focus on good security on the front door and don’t worry about the back
•Have your door and window locks checked to make sure they are working efficiently or changed if they are old or broken
•Don’t leave spare keys in obvious places outside
•Don’t leave your valuables on show
•Don’t leave keys on key hooks by the front door
•Take your bag and car keys to bed with you at night
•Install security lighting
•Install a safe (if desired)
•Use home security innovations **See list below**
•Don’t leave ladders and other objects easily accessible for the intruder to use as a means of getting into your home
•Leave a radio or tv on sometimes when you go out
•Search online to find out about how you can add extra security to your home
•Be careful who you tell that you are away on holiday and be selective about information you put on social media
Here are some security innovations that you might find useful:
Ring Video Doorbell 2 – 1080p HD video, two-way talk, motion detection, wifi-connected
Ring Spotlight Cam Battery – HD Security Camera with LED Spotlight, alarm and two-way talk, battery operated, Black
AmazonBasics Security Safe 34 L- Black
Senweit Pack of 8 Mini Alarms Magnetic Door Window Alarm Home Security System Wireless Sensor Burglar Intruder Entry Warning Alarm Battery Included
APEMAN Wireless Camera 1080P IP WiFi Home Security surveillance Camera 2-Way Audio Motion Detection Remote Control with Night Vision Pan/Tilt/zoom
Bird Nest Box & Feeder with Colour Night Vision Camera with Audio – Multi Species Nest Box & Feeder Camera
Mini Spy Camera WiFi Hidden Camera AOBO Wireless HD 1080P Indoor Home Small Spy Cam Security Cameras/Nanny Cam Built-in Battery with Motion Detection/Night Vision For iPhone/Android Phone/iPad/PC
If you have any questions about home security, call us today.
1. https://metro.co.uk/2018/09/08/police-are-very-close-to-losing-the-streets-top-officer-admits-7924887/?ito=article.mweb.share.floaty.facebook2. https://www.dunstabletoday.co.uk/news/crime/dunstable-and-houghton-regis-crime-ratio-per-head-is-now-worse-than-luton-1-8602323
The Ultion lock website gives you lots of really good information including a facility to find out what theft crime has happened in your location.
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Come back and visit our blog again, we will be sharing lots of updates and expert advice. Do you have any questions?