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Saturday, April 24, 2004

Looked at a story on the BBC news website: www.news.bbc.co.uk concerning a big operation that began in Teesside last week. The operation was carried out by Cleveland Police to target known offenders, and more than 70 arrests were made just on the first two days.150 officers have been involved in the campaign, and so far Police have made 127 arrests and expect to make more. Police say that the operation, known as ‘Sabre’, will run for a long time, and will hopefully make communities safer and reduce people’s fear of crime. John Kelly, Detective Superintendent of the Cleveland Force says that ‘Operation Sabre is all about taking the fear of crime to the criminals’, and says that there is no hiding place for trouble makers. The majority of the public seems to be in great support of the campaign, with many contacting police and providing information.
I think that this is a very good idea, as often petty criminals go unpunished ands continue to commit crimes. People have the right to feel safe in their community, and these kinds of operations are great because many of the criminals are punished and it also acts as a deterrent for other possible troublemakers. These sorts of campaigns seem to be very successful, 70 arrests in just the first two days is a great result, I think Police should plan more of these operations all around the country, as at the moment the operations are only being carried out in certain areas.
To find out the latest information on the campaign, visit:
www.cleveland.police.uk

word count: 260


Thursday, April 15, 2004

This week, I discovered the new government aims regarding crime on the website
www.number-10.gov.uk The main targets of the government are to reduce
the long-term crime rate, to halve the time from arrest to sentencing of young offenders
who persist in breaking the law from the current 142 days to 71 days, and to make
improvements to how efficient police are by 2per cent per year. They are concentrating on young offenders,
after it was estimated that people under the age of 18 commit 7 million offences a year, with many offending
while awaiting trial. The government claims that they do not want juvenile offenders to become the hard criminals of tomorrow
and by introducing factors such as replacing repeat cautions with one final warning, and providing youth offending teams
in every area they can achieve this to a better degree. They also want to reduce fear of crime and will do this by
cracking down on petty crime and neighborhood disorder. Drugs are also being targeted, the government want to reduce levels of repeated drug misuse as well as reducing access to drugs for 5-16 year olds. They also want the police force to be out on the streets more fighting crime, and dealing less with paper work, as well as dealing more effectively with organized crime. I think that this sounds very good, as long as the government carries them out like it says it will. The targets I have mentioned here, are only some of the ones that the government have set out on the website, and I do think that they may have given themselves too many targets to successfully meet, however they do state that it will take time and on that point I agree. Find out more on crime and related issues at:
www.go-london.gov.uk

word count:300

Monday, April 05, 2004

Found an article on the Telegraph website, www.telegraph.co.uk about a neighbourhood that feel so let down by police, that they have put their money together and hired a security guard to patrol the area. The Westminster neighbours decided to do this after many of them had experienced burglaries, muggings, stolen cars, assaults, petty theft and criminal damage. One of the residents even reported an armed break in two minutes walk from where she lived, which had occurred just a couple of weeks before. The neighbours report that they feel in danger of crime, and never see Police on the beat anymore, so hiring a security guard has made them feel safer. The security guard is strong, fit and has knowledge of self-defence, he has no more power than anyone else, but just knowing that he is patrolling their streets makes the residents feel safer. The Home Office however say that it is the public’s fear of crime that is the real problem.
I think that the Home Office have got it quite wrong here, alright sometimes people do fear crime when there is no need to, but this is an area of a busy city, where the residents have already reported many crimes being committed so it is not hard to see that it is not all in the neighbours minds. Over 20 residents reported crimes, and believed that their area needed some kind of police protection at least some of the time. The Police resources might be low in the area, but surely they can stretch to making people where crimes are being committed feel safe? Even if Police were unable to patrol the area surely they could install CCTV or even put up the money for security guards to watch over the neighbourhood. I think that it is unacceptable for members of the public to have to go to these lengths to feel safe.
A similar story can be found on www.guardian.co.uk which is also worth reading.

word count: 329

Thursday, April 01, 2004

On a government website this week www.good2bsecure.gov.uk I found an article on student safety with regard to petty crime. The article says that students own more expensive consumer goods than the rest of the population with 70% owning a computer or a laptop, 86% owning a mobile phone and many more owning TV’s, stereos and cars. Due to these kinds of statistics 1 in 3 students are victims of crime each year at University. Mugging, vehicle theft and burglary, apparantly effect students most. Muggings occur most often outside pubs and clubs between the hours of 10pm and 6am, and as many students enjoy nights out they are easy targets, also when walking home afterwards. Many students carry mobile phones, which can easily be snatched on the street also. The website gives good advice especially for students on crime prevention, and also helpful advice and information if you become a victim of crime.I recently performed a crime survey as part of my Criminology module at University, which asked how people were affected by crime.I asked a variety of people of different ages, racial backgrounds, physical abilities and so on whether they had been victims of crime, and found that only two out of the twenty I asked had, both were students under the age of 25.So I do think that student safety is definitely an important issue that must be addressed and that students must be both aware of and must also take protective measures to protect themselves. Because students tend to be away from their homes for the first time, and own some expensive equipment they will always be a target for crime, but with simple measures such as going out in a group, and keeping to brightly lit areas at night students could greatly avoid being victims. If anybody especially students would like to read more visit the website I think you will find it very useful.
Read more on student safety at:
www.crimereduction.gov.uk

word count: 328

Friday, March 26, 2004

It seems not even £9.7 million can make some people change their ways. In the news this week there was a story featured on such a man, who won £9.7 million on the National Lottery and despite his promises to end his life of petty crime it seems he just can't keep them. Michael Carroll from Magdalen near Norfolk, collected his winnings in 2002 still wearing an electronic tag for drunk and disorderly behaviour. Despite the tag he pledged to friends, family and the media that he was going on the straight and narrow and that the lottery money had given him the chance of a fresh, clean start. Yet despite his promises £1,000 worth of cocaine, cannabis and magic mushrooms were recently found at his home, which he has just received a 12 month treatment order for. This is not the first crime committed since his win, just 3 weeks after he was fined £1,300 after dodging £10 worth of train fares. He was later fined £12,000 for claiming jobseekers allowance whilst he was working. He has also been in trouble with neighbours and the council near his new home on the edge of Swaffam, for noisy behaviour. Many residents of his old home in Magdalen talk positively about Mr Carroll, blaming his recent behaviour on personal and domestic problems (his marriage recently collapsed after less than a year). Others believe that he has simply had ‘too much too soon’, and he can’t handle it. Personally I think that in his situation, with all that money he has recently obtained there is no excuse for committing petty crime. If he has a drug problem, then obviously however much money he has wont make a difference, and he should receive help and treatment for this. However dodging £10 worth of train tickets I think is just inexcusable, ok many people do this, but when you have the kind of money that this man has I think that there is no excuse especially after he vowed to go on the straight and narrow.
Read more on the story at:
www.timesonline.co.uk
www.news.bbc.co.uk
www.guardian.co.uk


word count:351

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Have been looking at crime statistics by Andy Aitchison and James Hodgkinson this week for 2002/2003 on a website called www.homeoffice.gov.uk The statistics are for both England and Wales and cover burglary,criminal damage, drug offences,violence,theft and theft from vehicles. The highest place in the country for crime was as you might expect London with 1,090,767 crimes reported.The lowest was Wales with 294,846 crimes reported, and the lowest in England was the south west of England with 467,406. Theft and handling of stolen goods was the crime commited most in the survey by all areas, and the crimes commited least in the survey were robbery and drug offences.
The highest level of crime in England and Wales was in 1995, but has since fallen by 36%.Victims of crime have also fallen from 40% in 1995 to 27% in 2002/2003. The recordings show that many crimes such as vehicle theft and violent crimes have decreased in 2002/2003 from a year before, as has the fear of crime.This is really good news,and could be due to increased police patrolling the street,more use of speed and CCTV cameras, as well as changes in the law.The risk of being a victim of crime is the same as it was in 1981 which was 27%.There is always going to be a risk of being a victim of crime, but people must help themselves, by taking measures such as installing alarms,avoiding badly lit areas at night and so on. Because if people were more vigilant then we could lower the crime figure even more. As it is stated in the website crimes are not always reported to the police, so a completely accurate crime figure is not possible, but we do get a good idea.
This is a very interesting website, which contains many other local and national statistics,definately worth a look for anyone interested.
Anyone interested in USA statistics check out www.disastercenter.com/crime which gives similar statistics for the United States.

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Thursday, March 11, 2004

just been reading about a crack down on petty crime in the town of Ardrossan on www.strathclyde.police.uk/news , where police there have been trying to stress that they are commited to stamping out fear of crime in the community.The operation named 'Etna' was launched after locals complained that they were intimidated by gangs of youths gathering in certain areas at night.Over a weekend last November, police patrolled areas known for crime in uniform and undercover,as well as using officers from the traffic patrol and dog teams.Over the course of the operation 80 people were searched for weapons,with 2 people found to be carrying one, 25 people were searched for illegal substances, again 2 people were caught with drugs on them. A further 32 members of the public were reported for traffic crimes.The operation was thought to be highly effective.
I have conflicting views on this subject,for one i think that it is great that the police are trying to get more involved in the community and attempting to reduce the fear of crime as being intimidated is horrible for all of us,especially for older people and the very young.On the other hand being searched by police can feel like an invasion of privacy,especially when there is no cause for it.For example take the operation in Ardrossan 25 people were searched for drugs,but only 2 found to be carrying them.That's 23 people searched for nothing! Young Students in particular are often picked on by the police, when others are not and are often stereotyped as drug users and trouble makers.Of course sometimes students are guilty, but no more than any one else. Many of my friends at University and also when i attended a Sixth Form College were stopped by Police and searched for drugs, as well as being breathalised for what seemed no good reason. Although a couple of these people were fine about this, some were very upset and embarassed.
To read more on cracking down on petty crime, visit
www.tom-watson.co.uk

word count: 332

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