So why is crime rising so fast in affluent areas?
The Telegraph, which analysed the Home Office stats, has linked the rise in crime to an increased demand for drugs in wealthy areas. This increased demand, fuelled in part by increased availability due to county lines drug running, has led to more crimes being committed in these areas.
County lines drug crime, which refers to inner-city gangs extending their operations into more rural communities, is thought to be worth more than £800,000 a year. Urban gangs, which often have more resources, use violence to drive out local dealers and exploit young and vulnerable people to sell drugs.
This has meant that, for example, in parts of Oxfordshire, where the average household income is £55,000, drug offences has risen by 60 percent in one year. Similarly, parts of Kent such as north-east Maidstone (where the average household income is £64,500) have witnessed violence and sexual offences increase by more than 70 percent. And, in central Cambridge, where the average household income is £70,900, robberies are up almost 50 percent.
Partly to counter the threats that county-lines has presented, it has been announced that 20,000 new police officers are to be recruited across the nation. Moreover, a recent UK-wide county lines crackdown has seen police arrest more than 700 suspects and seize a total of £253,200-worth of cocaine, £100,170-worth of crack cocaine and £72,670-worth of heroin.
This is great news for those living and working in areas affected by county lines. However, with an estimated 2,000 lines in operation throughout the UK, there’s still some way to go yet.
Do you live or run a business in an area affected by increasing crime rates?
If so, there are several effective things you can do to reduce the chances that your property is targeted by criminals.
Here are some tips.
• Whenever you leave the house lock your doors and windows – even if you’re only going out to the garden.
• Hide all keys out of sight and far away from the letterbox (since burglars can use devices to pull keys through).
• Install a burglar alarm – and ensure it is visible.
• Ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your property and do the same for them.
• When you go away, use a timer to turn radios or lights on at scheduled times to make your home appear occupied.
• Keep the fences surrounding your garden in good condition.
• Lock bikes to immovable objects inside a locked shed or, even better, a garage.
• Store any ladders away securely – burglars can use ladders left in your garden to break in.
• Lock all side gates to prevent access to the rear of the property.
• Improve surveillance at the front of your property – for example, trim high hedges.
• Mark valuable property with your postcode and house number and register it for free with Immobilise.
• Consider joining or establishing a Neighbourhood Watch
• Move any valuables out of view.
• Store high value items – such as cash, jewellery and passports – in a secure safe or bank vault.
• Consider replacing glass panels in doors with stronger laminated glass.
• Fit locks to downstairs windows or any upstairs windows that are easy to reach.
• Never open the door to strangers. Check the identity of any callers by ringing the company they claim to be from. Use the telephone number listed in your local directory – not a number provided by the caller. (Tip: the “Waterboard” no longer exists, and so the term is only used by bogus callers).
• Cancel newspaper and milk deliveries whenever you go on holiday – nothing lets a burglar know you’re away like a pile of unopened newspapers.
• Avoid discussing holiday plans on social networks, since burglars may use this information to target you.
• Use the Royal Mail’s “keepsafe” service when you’re away – they will store mail for up to two months.
Typically, only three percent of property is recovered after a burglary. And only one in 10 reported crimes result in a charge being upheld. This makes preventing burglary much more viable than pursuing charges.
Here’s what you need to do to keep burglars at bay.
• Ensure that all outside entrances and inside security doors are equipped with deadbolt locks. If you use padlocks, make sure that they are made of steel. Additionally, remove serial numbers from your locks. This prevents unauthorised keys being made.
• All outside and internal security doors should be metal-lined and secured with metal security crossbars. All exposed hinges should be pinned to prevent removal.
• Windows should be fitted with secure locks and burglar-resistant glass. You should also consider fitting metal grates on all windows apart from display windows.
• Make sure that you can see into your store easily after closing and remove all expensive items from window displays.
• Light the inside and outside of your building at night. Focus on doors, windows, skylights and any other entry points. Install covers over exterior lights and power sources to prevent tampering.
• Leave cash register open and empty at when you close, and make sure that it’s visible and well-lit from outside.
• Use a fireproof safe and anchor it securely. Keep it in plain view and leave it open when it’s empty. Lock all valuables in the safe when you close and change the combination whenever an employee who has access to it leaves.
• Purchase an alarm. Contact your local police force and find out which vendors they would recommend. Check the system every day and test when closing.
Churchill Support Services is a leading security company. We provide only the most highly-trained security personnel and are members of the ACS Pacesetters – which represents the top 15 percent of all UK security companies