Ten ways to beat the burglars

… as recommended by the local police

1. When you go out, always close and lock the external doors and windows – even if you are just going out for a short time.

2. Try to get into the habit of double-checking window and door locks when you are going to bed too. Have you turned the key on doors that may have been unlocked during the day?

3. Be careful with keys. Make sure you all know how to get out in case of fire, but be careful not leave keys, including spares, near the door or where they could be reached from outside. And try not to leave them in a garage or under a flowerpot!

4. Installing new doors or windows? Make sure that they are certified to the appropriate British Standard (BS). The standard for windows is BS7950 and the standard for doors is PAS 24

5. Put burglars off, Burglar alarms that are visible, good home lighting and security in the right place can put burglars off. Make sure that lights don’t disturb your neighbours and that burglar alarms turn off after 20 minutes.

6. Use timers for lights and radios if you need to be away from home overnight or when you are on holiday. They will create the impression that someone is in.

7. Visible burglar alarms, good lighting and carefully directed security lighting can put burglars off. But make sure that the lights don’t disturb your neighbours and that alarms turn off after 20 minutes.

8. Fences at the back of the house may make this area more secure but walls and solid fencing may let a thief break in without being seen. A good compromise is chain-link fencing or trellis with prickly shrubs.

9. Fitting a ‘spy hole’ allows you to see who is at the door. A door chain lets you open the door a little way to talk to the caller.

10. Never leave garages or sheds unlocked, especially if they connect to your property.

Police elections this Thursday: why I am a semi-floating voter

This Thursday, 15th November 2012, will see Britain’s first ever elections for Police & Crime Commissioners to oversee our police forces. Everyone in England and Wales outside of London will vote for a Police & Crime Commissioner for their county. They will be in charge of Chief Constables, set budgets set policing priorities. Here is a list of the candidates standing for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The Police Commissioners are intended by the Conservatives to provide greater accountability to the communities they serve. I question whether one person is more accountable than the police authorities, which comprised a number of people. Nevertheless, here we have an opportunity to get people thinking seriously about policing matters, including how best to handle offenders and prevent reoffending. (more…)

First police elections next month, just one day to register!

The 15th November 2012 will see Britain’s first ever elections for individuals to be in charge of our police forces. Everyone in England and Wales outside of London will go to the polls to vote for a Police & Crime Commissioner for their county. Chief Constables will answer to the new commissioners, who will set budgets and set policing priorities. Here is a list of the candidates standing for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Tomorrow’s your last chance to apply for a postal vote or register to vote – you can fill in this form. Postal vote applications need to be in by 5 p.m. but you can register to vote up till 11.59 if you like to be up against the wire. Here is a form for that too. You can apply for a proxy vote (somebody else votes on your behalf) up to 7th November.

The Police Commissioners are intended by the Conservatives to provide greater accountability to the communities they serve. I am not convinced that one person is more accountable than the existing police authorities comprising a number of people: nevertheless, it is an opportunity to get people thinking seriously about policing matters, including how best to handle offenders and prevent reoffending.

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Vehicle thefts in Queen Edith’s

The South Cambridge Neighbourhood police report just one burglary in Queen Edith’s in the past week: burglars broke into a shed in Long Road last Wednesday and used tools to jemmy open a side window leading to the kitchen. Property was stolen, including valuables and a vehicle.

There have been two thefts of motor vehicles in the Cavendish Avenue area.

Domestic burglary is a police priority, as set at the recent South Area meeting on 16th July, and police have spent over 50 hours patrolling in Cherry Hinton and Queen Edith’s to deter burglars, in line with the policing priority.

If you wish to contact the neighbourhood policing team, ring them on the police non-emergency number, 101, or 999 for emergencies. To receive regular updates from the police, sign up for e-cops for their local newsletter covering the south of Cambridge.

If you would like to comment on police priorities, please get in touch with me or any other member of the Focus Team.

Seven days, three burglaries

The neighbourhood police report a crime spree in Queen Edith’s, with three domestic burglaries between 11th and 18th July. Sincere sympathies to the people affected. Burglary takes away more than just the goods stolen, and police have just set a new priority of focusing on domestic burglaries in the south of the city – see previous post on police priorities for the coming four months.

Curiously, the criminals concentrated on the streets beginning with ‘G’. Is it fanciful to think those of us in streets beginning with H should be especially vigilant this week?

I am copying the information the police have just put out on e-cops:

GLEBE ROAD/07 19:15 – 20:00     Unknown person(s) have gained entry to a multi occupancy house via an insecure front door whilst residents were in, offenders have made their way up to converted loft bedroom and thrown a wallet containing cash out of the window onto a driveway at the side of the house before exi XBOX 360 and games were taken.

Gunhild Way     18/07 12:00 – 14:30

Unknown person(s) have gained to the house via front door causing no damage. Untidy search of all rooms, jewellery and a large quantity of money taken. Rear kitchen window opened.

Bikes have been stolen too, including Blinco Grove and Hills Road. Police recommend registering on Immobilise, a national scheme which allows you to register your valuables for free (anything with a serial number).

If you wish to contact the neighbourhood policing team, ring them on the police non-emergency number, 101, or 999 for emergencies. To receive regular updates from the police, sign up for e-cops for their local newsletter covering the south of Cambridge.

If you would like to comment on police priorities, please get in touch with me or any other member of the Focus Team.

Police priorities for South Cambridge

  • The South Area meeting at the Cherry Hinton Village Centre last night set five policing priorities for the coming four months:
  • Anti-social behaviour in Cherry Hinton
  • Mini-moto misuse in Cherry Hinton
  • Dangerous driving and parking outside schools in Queen Edith’s
  1. SpeedParking at Homerton Childrens Centreing in Church End, Cherry Hinton
  2. Domestic burglaries

The police recommended carrying on with the school parking and asked to add another, domestic burglaries. They asked to discharge the three Cherry Hinton objectives.

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Amanda Taylor: Your Liberal Democrat candidate in Queen Edith’s

Amanda standing for re-election

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Amanda Taylor is standing for re-election in Queen Edith’s. Amanda has been in Queen Edith’s for nearly twenty years and represented the area on Cambridge City Council since 1994. She lives in Holbrook Road with her husband Ashley, and their eight-year old son, a Morley Memorial pupil.

Amanda is best known for her work on transport and housing. Her biggest achievements have been Dunstan Court on Wulfstan Way, which replaced Labour’s sub-standard sheltered housing accommodation; and improved bus services, following her campaign for improved reliability. ‘When I first came to live here,’ says Amanda, ‘there were just two buses an hour into town from Hills Road – and they didn’t always come on time. Now there are over twenty buses an hour, and bus usage has increased dramatically.’

More recent successes for Amanda and the Lib Dem Focus Team include revamped play facilities at Nightingale Avenue Recreation Ground and new lighting and paving outside the shops on Wulfstan Way. They have also got the police to monitor parking outside schools.

Amanda is currently campaigning for improvements to cycleways in the area, for example lighting the Guided Bus cycleway, and for road safety improvements, eg yellow lines on junctions near the Queen Edith’s Primary School.

She is an active member of the Friends of Rock Road Library, which started as a gardening group and then took on a campaigning role in the fight to prevent the Conservative County Council from closing the library down.

In our wider community, Amanda chairs the Council’s South Area Committee, is a member of St John’s Church on Hills Road, and is a member of the Cambridge Fairtrade Steering Group.

Amanda and Lib Dem team visit residents in Queen Edith’s all through the year, not just at election time. When there are issues in a particular street, we always try to listen to the concerns of residents. At election time we try to call on as many households as we can, and we look forward to speaking to you soon, if we haven’t already! The BBC came to see us in action on Tuesday: see here.

Please see the link on the left for this year’s Liberal Democrat election manifesto for Cambridge.

School parking is a police priority

Children have a right to be able to walk or cycle to school in safety.

At the recent South Area meeting, Lib Dem councillors called for police to take a tougher approach towards people parking illegally and dangerously outside schools.

The South Cambridge Neighbourhood Community Police Team has been targeting dangerous and inconsiderate parking outside Morley Memorial and Queen Edith’s Primary Schools since last September, telling people when they are parking where they shouldn’t be.

Policing outside these schools will continue, but now the police will be issuing tickets for parking offences as opposed to merely ‘advising’ motorists.

They will also start observing parking outside Homerton Children’s Centre on Holbrook Road and the Perse Pelican Pre-Prep in Glebe Road.

The tougher approach is necessary. Children have a right to be able to walk or cycle to school safely. The police will be visiting at the beginning and end of the school day, but they cannot be everywher at once. If you spot parking on junctions or worse still, yellow zigzags, ring the police on their new non-emergency number, 101.

South Cambridge Policing Priorities

At the South Cambridge Area meeting this week (7th November), police agreed two new priorities:

  • attending the Morley and Queen Edith’s Primary Schools and Homerton Children’s Centre to crack down on illegal or dangerous driving and parking
  • cycle theft in Trumpington, as there has been a big increase in the last few months, mainly in Hills Road

They will continue with these objectives from the last quarter, slightly adapted to take account of offenders moving from one area to another:

  • moped misuse in Queen Edith’s and Cherry Hinton
  • anti-social behaviour and drug misuse in Cherry Hinton

Thanks to Mrs Ann Winter from Queen Edith’s, who addressed the meeting about the problems experienced with bad driving and parking in Godwin Way (the road where Queen Edith’s Primary School is). The petition for yellow lines on the Godwin Way/ Close corner now has nearly 50 signatures: do sign it if you haven’t already. Thanks to Layla Vandenbergh, who has put it on line on the County Council’s website: http://epetition.cambridgeshire.public-i.tv/epetition_core/view/GodwinParking. I have paper copies to sign if anyone would like one.

New Sainsbury’s store awarded drinks licence

I attended a hearing of Cambridge City Council‘s Licensing Panel, which granted a premises licence to Sainsbury’s for its new store on the Cambridge Leisure Park. The store is not trading yet, but is likely to open early next year, underneath the budget hotel — and opposite Tesco’s.

As explained in my previous post, the Leisure Park was designated a cumulative impact zone.because of high levels of booze-fuelled crime in the Hills Road/ Cherry Hinton Road area and a high number of places selling alcohol – 17 on the Leisure Park alone, plus wine shops and off-licences nearby. This means that new drinks licences are only issued if the applicant can demonstrate that their operation will not make existing alcohol-related crime worse.

Premises licence applications are not well publicised, and they go through automatically if there are no objections. When I first heard about this one, there were no objections on file, so I put in my own. I did this because first: I cannot see how a new store selling alcohol can avoid making the alcohol-related crime worse, and secondly: because I thought the proposed finish time of 11 p.m. was too late. I asked that if the committee were minded to approve the application, that the drinks sales should stop at 9 p.m., as does the Sainsbury’s in St Andrew’s Street.

There have been three other objections: one from the manager of the Essentialz shop on the Hills Road Bridge, one from the chair of the Rustat Road Residents’ Association, and one from the police. The objections performed a function, as they enhanced the dialogue between the police and the supermarket, so that by the time of the meeting yesterday, the application had been amended for the better, including an earlier closing time of 10 p.m. (for the drinks sales, not the store). There was also an undertaking to provide security guards on Friday and Saturday nights, and to have the alcohol area locked with shutters outside licence hours. There will be no strong beer or cider on sale and Sainsbury’s will operate a policy of asking anyone  looking under 25 to show ID. They will join CAMBAC, (Cambridge Businesses Against Crime).

The police and the residents’ association were satisfied with the changes and withdrew their objections, but the hearing still went ahead, as there were still two objections sustained.

I am impressed with the provisions that have been put in place and I hope they work. Sainsbury’s assured us that they have a national pricing policy and are not likely to get into a price war with Tesco’s (also on the Leisure Park) – but there are other outlets nearby and I hope they behave responsibly too.

We shall wait and see.