This report, of the Police Report to the Houghton Regis Town Council meeting on Monday 3rd December was written by guest writer, Tracey McMahon.
Joel PCSO attended (all on his lonesome) the TC Meeting on Monday night with an update from the police on local crime. The Sept/Oct [crime] report is 1.1 per cent UP on previous month, but DOWN overall 23 per cent on this time last year.
There has been a decrease in serious crimes, burglaries, domestic abuse, violence against persons etc...Theft is also down, criminal damage is also down, as are robberies. They have put initiatives together, targeting specific individuals, and patrolling specific areas.
Operation PEAK, targets suspects across the whole county, in marked vehicles and with plain clothed officers.
There have been quite a few arrests from this initiative. Over the last 28 days, 4 robberies have occurred involving theft of personal property, the last occurred on 20th Nov. Since then, more officers have been drafted into the area. The last burglary was also reported at the end of November.
Theft from vehicles is becoming an issue, especially at this time of year, and officers are trying to raise public awareness about this - i.e. don't leave your valuables/Christmas shopping, on full view when you leave your car unattended!
Operation VISION is another new initiative which is being implemented by our new PCC Olly. This is to gain feedback from the public on their needs, and in this area will mainly be targeting the PARKSIDE AREA. Olly himself may even be doing a bit of door knocking himself! [the scheduled date for this is 19th December from 9.30am onwards].
The police are looking into making available FREE light timers for the public, for using to turn lights on/off when properties are empty to give the impression that someone is home. There will also be a programme of property marking, which may be at the White Lion Retail Park, so customers can get their pressies marked as they buy them.
Operation CAPS will address number plate security.
PC's/PCSO's are being directed to stay within/return to the Houghton Regis area when not attending other incidents due to the concerns raised recently by residents.
That's page one of my notes
Cllr Carrington asked if there were any updates on the recent attacks, and the problem with the bus shelters, the answer was NO.
Mayor/Cllr Jones hiliighted that the bus shelter damage is not just a local issue, as he has seen some damaged over Lewsey Farm, and Leagrave.
Cllr Costello mentioned the property marking and muggings in Houghton Hall ward.
Joel said that extra PCSO's were being deployed from Dunstable and Houghton Regis to address these issues.
Cllr Winter asked if personal attack alarms are available for public issue, the answer was NO, and it was unlikely that they would be. Alan then requested that the Town Council looked into procuring some.
Cllr Williams discussed the crime report recently issued, and asked if the criminals that are being 'targeted' with the new police initiatives are existing criminals in the area, or is it a newly evolving criminal element? It appears that there is a new element of criminals evolving, from groups of young teens that are associating with older teens, ie 16yr olds knocking about with 18-20 year olds that have already been in trouble. Some of those younger teens are the same kids that started out riding the illegal motorbikes and causing a nuisance. They have even targeted one person who is only 12 years old! Some of the newer criminals are also from other areas.
It was suggested that the recent rise in unemployment has impacted on the crime figures.
Cllr Hunting read out Darren's email to him regarding the possibility of using mobile CCTV, and whether the police knew who was committing these recent crimes? Joel said he had no idea about the likelihood of using mobile CCTV as it was above his pay grade (LOL!), and that they had an idea who the 'crims' were, and they are on their 'radar'.
Cllr Roberts commented on a previous meeting, and reminded the council that there had also been a suggestion that there was an element of criminal activity that was being instigated by some people from North London, and that they were trying to become an influence in our area.
Finally, Operator HANNAH was discussed, and the expected incline of reported thefts due to a 'Seasonal Spike'.
I also took a few notes on some other issues, one of which is the crossing by the church. Cllr Williams reported that he is having a meeting on 16th Dec [update: this will now be on Friday 7th] to discuss the possibility of putting an island of some sort (much like there previously was!), to break it up so as to make it a bit safer. Cllr Winter was very concerned that something should be done before someone gets killed!