For the last couple of months we have been having discussions with the police in Whickham about how best to address a spate of burglaries in the area. We decided that it would be useful to hold a public meeting so the police could give residents an overview of what has happened and, very importantly, to explain to residents what they can do to reduce the likelihood of being burgled. The meeting was held last night in the function room of the Crown pub on Whickham Front Street. The police delivered a letter in the area most affected - Cornmoor Rd/Whaggs Lane/Millfield Rd/Broom Lane and I sent out an email to people on our newsletter list.
About 50 residents came to the meeting and the police gave a useful explanation of what people can do: don't leave tools around in the garden as the burglars are using them to break into houses; make sure sheds are locked and secured and possibly install a shed alarm; put up security lighting; install cameras and so on. This equipment can be bought quite cheaply and can act as a strong deterrent to burglars. People were also asked to report any suspicious activities by calling 101. The police are also keep to set up a neighbourhood watch scheme.
The councillors sat at the back of the room but I was on call to answer questions that related to the council - there was a reasonable number.
All-in-all, a useful meeting/