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Keeping your community safe

As residents of Eden, we live in one of the safest parts of the country, with very low levels of crime and disorder. We are committed to tackling crime and disorder and to improve the quality of life for all residents and visitors. We work in partnership with a wide range of agencies to ensure that the quality of life in Eden continues to be one of the best in the country. The main mechanism for achieving this is the Carlisle and Eden Community Safety Partnership (CSP), established in 2001, which works to reduce crime and disorder across both districts.

The work of the CSP is focused on problem solving, informed by data and community intelligence. The CSP strategy sets out the priorities and targets for tackling crime and disorder in Carlisle and Eden, for details, see CSP. We are not solely responsible for community safety, it is a concern for all in the local community. Everyone has a part to play in reducing criminal and anti-social behaviour.

You, your home, your neighbourhood and crime

Although it is the job of the Police to fight crime, we can all help to bring crime down. Most crime is against property, and not the person. Not many crimes are carefully planned. Most are opportunist, committed on the spur of the moment; possessions left on display in a car, a doorway, or a window to a house left open. You can reduce this risk by taking a few simple steps to secure your home and car. A neighbourhood free from the opportunity of crime soon becomes a community free of crime; make your neighbourhood a safer place to live in. For advice on personal safety, security, social networking safety, road and vehicle safety, support and wildlife and rural crime, see Cumbria Constabulary's webpage for advice and information.

Challenging the fear of crime

The chances that you or a member of your family will be a victim of crime are low. Crimes, and especially violent crimes, are still comparatively rare in Eden. Nevertheless, many people are frightened that they, or someone close to them, will be the victim of crime. The best way to minimise the risks of crime are by taking sensible precautions. Most people already do this as part of their everyday lives, often without realising it. Sensible precautions limit risk and reduce crime. This guide is aimed at informing people of some of the very straightforward ways in which they can reduce crime for themselves and their community.

1. Personal safety

  • Use only your surname and initials in the telephone directory and on the doorplate. That way a stranger won't know if a man or a woman lives there.
  • If you see signs of a break-in at your home, like a smashed window, or open door, don't go in. Go to a neighbour and call the police.
  • If you are selling your home, don't show people around on your own. Ask your estate agent to send a representative with anyone who wants to view your house.
  • When you answer the telephone, simply say 'hello'; don't give your number. If the caller claims to have a wrong number, ask him or her to repeat the number required. Never reveal any information about yourself to a stranger and never say you are alone in the house.
  • If you receive an abusive or threatening telephone call, put the receiver down beside the telephone and walk away. Come back a few minutes later and replace the receiver; don't listen to see if the caller is still there. Don't say anything. An emotional reaction is just what the caller wants. This allows the caller to say what he or she wants to say, without causing distress to you. If the calls continue, tell the police and the operator and keep a record of the date, time and content of each phone call. This may help the authorities trace the caller.
  • It's important to know how to stay safe when you're using the internet. You should never give out any personal information when you're online to people you do not know face-to-face, no matter who you think you're talking to.

2. Your home

A lot of burglaries can be prevented. Most are committed by opportunist thieves. In two out of ten burglaries, the thief does not have to force his way in, because a door or window has been left open. Burglars like easy prospects. They don't like locked windows because breaking glass attracts attention. They don't like security deadlocks on doors because they cannot open them, even from the inside, and they have to get out through a window. Simple precautions like these do work:

  • Looking after your home: Make sure your front door is locked. Fit hinge bolts which stop someone pulling the door from its hinges. Fix a special steel strip into the doorframe.
  • Door Entry Systems: If your block does not have a telephone entry system, talk to your landlord, or the other occupants, about putting one in. This may be easier if you get together with other tenants to form a tenants' association. If you do have a telephone entry system, don't let strangers in, or hold the door open for someone who is arriving as you are leaving.
  • Strangers: Be alert to people loitering in residential streets. If it is no-one you recognise, call the Police.
  • Burglar alarms: Visible burglar alarms make burglars think twice.
  • Porch Roof: A thief could reach first floor windows from this roof, so fit window locks.
  • Gates and Fences: A high wall or fence at the back of a house can put off a burglar. Check for weak spots where a thief could get in. A thorny hedge along a boundary can also be a useful deterrent. Make sure the front of the house is still visible to passers by, so that a burglar can't work unseen.
  • Small Windows: Even small windows, like casement windows, skylights, or bathroom fanlights, need locks. A thief can get in through any gap larger than a human head.
  • Spare Keys: Never leave a spare key in a hiding place, like under a doormat, in a flowerpot, or inside a letterbox - a thief will look there first.
  • Garages and Sheds: Never leave a garage or garden shed unlocked, especially if it has a connecting door to the house. Lock tools and ladders away so that a thief cannot use them to break in.
  • Side passages: Stop a thief getting to the back of the house where he can work with less chance of being seen , by fitting a bolt to a high gate across the passage. If you share an alleyway with a neighbour, talk to him or her about splitting the cost.

3. Car parks

  • When parking in a public car park - look for one that is well supervised, with restricted entry and exit points, good lighting and security cameras. In multi-storey car parks, choose a widely visible bay.
  • Car parks can be a target for thieves and a source of fear for many people. If you are parking at a busy time of the day, but not returning to your car until after dark, make sure you have parked as close to the exit as is possible, look at the lighting in place and choose a spot that will be well lit.
  • Have your keys out and be ready to enter your car as soon as you reach it, once in the car, lock the doors before doing anything else. Simple defensive thinking will prevent you from becoming a victim of crime.

4. Our community

There is a lot we can do outside our home and family to prevent crime. We can take action by getting together with other people and working in partnership with the police and other organisations to reduce crime in our District. Your can help by simply being alert and observant when out and about in your neighbourhoods - or you could apply to join the local Neighbourhood Watch or Special Constabulary. Anyone can play some part, however great or small.

  • Roads, footpaths and subways: you can help to maintain a safer environment by reporting to the authorities if streets, footpaths and subways are not well lit.
  • Building design: developers and local authorities should demand that new developments like housing estates, shopping precincts and car parks are designed to minimise the opportunities for criminals, and to create attractive and welcoming environments.
  • Schools: arson and vandalism cost schools dearly - between five and ten per cent of some education authorities' maintenance budgets are spent repairing vandalism damage. The money could be spent elsewhere by reducing vandalism through good design, sensible security measures and better management practices. Ask what your children's school is doing to prevent vandalism and the risk of arson.
  • Home insurance: does your insurance company offer discounts on home insurance if you are a member of Neighbourhood Watch? If not, try to find an insurance company who does.
  • Mobile Phones: Every mobile phone has a unique IMEI number - Dial*#06# to get yours and make a note of it so that if it is stolen, you can give it to the police to help recover, or to your service provider to stop the phone being used by anyone else.

5. Young People

Young people are vulnerable to being victims of crime, and young people sometimes suffer bullying, harassment, robbery (particularly the theft of mobile phones). We are keen to work with young people to develop youth crime prevention, aiming to prevent young people from become victims of crime or anti-social behaviour.

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place through communication technologies, such as mobile or smart phones or the internet. Cyberbullying is just as harmful as bullying in the real world. If you are getting threatening messages online, there are a number of ways to get them stopped. Please tell an adult you trust this could be your parents/carers or teacher.

Think safe and be safe - if you know that there are risks make sure that you don't take them.

6. Tackling anti social behaviour

Anti social behaviour can range from noisy neighbours to neighbourhood disputes, and from aggressive or threatening behaviour to vandalism. Some of this behaviour is unlawful and some of this behaviour is just simply a nuisance. What it does have in common is that it raises the fear of crime, lowers the opinion that people have of an area, and can be the start of a neighbourhood turning into a crime hot spot.

We are committed to challenging and reducing such behaviour and are keen to tackle the problems of anti-social behaviour.

We are also working with the Police and Housing Associations to reduce the problems in other areas, and the implementation of Anti Social Behaviour Orders (targeted at the most intractable of offenders) and Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC's).

It is important that members of the public let agencies know of the problems immediately they arise. Don't wait for the problems to get to boiling point; give the agencies concerned a chance to plan and deal with problems before they become too big.

7. Developing a local neighbourhood watch

Neighbourhood Watch schemes are a way for people in an area to get together to help prevent crime and make their neighbourhood a safer place. Neighbourhood Watch is known as Home Watch in some areas, but both work along similar lines and are built on the same idea - of looking after one another and the neighbourhood.

Groups can vary in size, depending on the area and what people want. They target local concerns - like burglary, vandalism or graffiti and devise ways of dealing with them. Individual members decide how active they want to be in the scheme. You could become a committee member or even coordinator of a group - or your part could be just keeping an eye on your neighbours' houses while they're away.

Schemes develop close links with the Police, who can provide advice and information about local problems. Well-run schemes can have a big impact on local crime.

In rural areas you may want to consider joining Cumbria Farm Watch or Cumbria Community Messaging Service.

8. Fire safety

Contact Cumbria Fire Service if you have any concerns about the safety of your home, whether you are a tenant, in tithed housing, or an owner occupier, who offer a free home fire safety check. Remember smoke detectors save lives; check them weekly, it will only save yours if it is working. If you don’t have one, get one - the Fire Service will supply and fit it for nothing, don't die or watch your family die, because you were getting round to it - do it now.