CRIME in South Shields town centre has fallen by almost 10 per cent.
Insp Nick Gjorven, of the police’s South Tyneside area command, told a meeting that offending over the last five weeks was down by 8.9 per cent year on year.
The officer told residents and councillors at a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Riverside community area forum, held at South Shields Town Hall that 219 fewer crimes had been committed.
He also revealed that anti-social behaviour was down by 11.7 per cent and that there had been almost 50 fewer burglaries of buildings other than homes.
However, the number of home burglaries is up by 14 offences, to 125. Theft from motor vehicles is also on the rise, by 32 to 163.
Insp Gjorven said: “We are trying our best to prevent these crimes, but people are still leaving valuables on display, and it’s enticing criminals.
“People go round the streets on bikes looking for cars with things like sat-navs and handbags on display, and they’ll use anything they can find to smash the window and steal what’s inside.
“We can’t stress enough that people should never leave anything like this on display.
“To tackle the problem, we’ve got plain-clothes officers and unmarked police cars on patrol, and we’re also trying out bait cars that are being left to try and entice thieves, but as of yet, this has not come to fruition.”
Insp Gjorven also said that officers would be increasing their patrols on Good Friday, but that the last two years had not seen any problems.
Residents at the meeting raised concerns about youths congregating at McDonald’s in King Street and at South Shields and Chichester Metro stations, prompting Insp Gjorven to assure them that action was in hand to tackle the issue.
He said that community support officers were mounting regular patrols of those locations and that the police were working with community groups to find alternative activities for youths on evenings.
It was also announced that barriers would soon be going up at the two Metro stations, which would stop people without a ticket gaining access to them.
Insp Gjorven added that a number of calls had been made to the police by residents upset about youths riding motorcycles in the area.
Those complaints, he said, had resulted in six bikes being seized by officers in the last five weeks.Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki