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Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Neighbourhood Crime

There was a serious burglary in Westwood Heath on Monday 28th January.

Three males entered a house, in daylight, attacked the female occupant, and stole jewellery. These images were taken by CCTV...

There seems to have been an increase in neighbourhood crime recently.

  • 7 February - beehive and garden bench stolen from Red Lane; incident 143
  • 25 January - shed ransacked in Cromwell Lane; mower, strimmer, leaf blower and hedge cutter were stolen; incident 191
  • 23 January - shed theft Cromwell Lane; garden vacuum and hedge trimmer stolen; incident 427
  • 22 January - shed theft Cromwell Lane; peteol hedge cutter stolen; incident 254
  • 22 January - attempted shed theft in Cromwell Lane; incident 133
  • 3 January - report of attempted break-in in Westwood Heath
  • 29 December - house break-in in Westwood Heath
  • 15 December  - car stolen from Cromwell Lane; incident 363
  • 11 December  - attempted burglary in Red Lane
  • 10 December - report of two attempted break-ins in Westwood Heath
There may have been other incidents.

This issue was raised at the January 23rd meeting of the Burton Green Residents' Association...
"A resident had made contact with concerns about break-ins to sheds in which the police showed no interest.  Various measures were discussed including the employment by Westwood Heath residents of a security firm and the use of Street Watch community patrols."

Action by Westwood Heath Residents' Association

Westwood Heath Residents' Association have been investigating both a voluntary Street Watch scheme, and the possibility of employing a private security firm. Proposals are described on the Westwood Heath Facebook page (requires privileged access to view):

Street Watch

Street Watch is a national scheme in which local volunteers patrol the street. There is a webpage for the Street Watch scheme, here:

That page has no contact details and does not appear to be funded by any official agency.

According to that page, only 5 police forces in the country seem to provide any training or other support for the scheme (Bedfordshire, Havering, West Midlands, Northamptonshire, Redbridge). West Midlands Police (Coventry and Solihull) is one of them; Warwickshire is not.

Kenilworth Neighbourhood Watch

Details have also been circulated, around Burton Green, of the Kenilworth Neighbourhood Watch, which covers Burton Green. Notices from Kenilworth Watch can be viewed here:

Kenilworth Watch also have a Twitter account. This basically provides timely alerts to the information on the website:

The Kenilworth Watch webpage is run and updated by Fraser Pithie.

There are several important social and political factors which have a bearing on neighbourhood crime.

In 2012, Fraser Pithie was a vocal supporter of plans to reduce funding for the Police Force, including reducing the number of officers on the beat. See:

Fraser Pithie also supported the use of private firms to carry out the role of front-line policing:

The National Picture

There have also been two relevant articles in The Telegraph this week (25th and 26th January):

Operational decisions are matters for the police but the Home Office could at least make it clear that the public expects to see a greater deployment of beat officers... The public does not want the police to waste their time investigating offensive online comments but to focus on what matters to most people. Everyone knows there are deeper causes of violent offending that cannot be resolved by policing alone but these take generations to turn around. They must not be an excuse for failing to do what can be done in the short term.
Complete article:

This is an article written by Sergeant Richard Cooke, Chair of the West Midlands Police Federation.

Soaring violent crime is not just due to cuts to the number of police officers, although let’s be clear, this is a massive part of the problem... 
I believe that while we do require urgent investment, we could achieve more with better organisation and focus. In order to do that, we must be clear about what actually constitutes a crime. Already incredulous that the Home Office is thinking of extending the categories of existing Hate Crime, to misogyny and ageism...
Complete article: