As part of the force’s new The Dark Nights Return campaign, a series of videos presented in a comic book style have been released today to show the ‘heroic’ ways people can join in the police’s fight to reduce crime crime.
Alongside the videos, a series of comic strip style posters, leaflets, mobile billboards and messages in the region’s biggest online newspapers will also stress the importance of reporting crimes and suspicious behaviour so that officers can take action.
A dedicated website for the campaign goes live today and aims to cut crimes which traditionally rise when the clocks go back.
While crime has been driven down to record lows over the past decade, burglary, robbery and vehicle crime all spike with the darker nights.
Despite people thinking anti-social behaviour rises over winter fuelled by trick or treat pranks, official police figures prove that reports of anti-social behaviour actually fall.
“Every day in every area of the West Midlands local people are helping police fight crime and that’s why crimes are at a 10 year low,” said Sergeant Andy Gregory the force’s lead crime reduction officer.
“But while crime has fallen over the past decade, each year we see a spike in crime when the clocks go back.
“To tackle this anticipated seasonal rise in crime associated with darker nights, we’re reminding people that by using a timer on lights or keeping valuables out of sight, you don’t have to be a superhero to make a big difference where you live.”
The figures, combined with his own experience, make Sgt Gregory believe that criminals use the cover of darkness to break into homes and cars and to rob people as they make their way home from school or after a night out.
“Unlike the comic strip villains of years gone by, criminals operating here in the West Midlands hate to be noticed and will use the cloak of darkness to offend,” he said.
“As the clocks go back there is a real danger that the hard work of police and local people in cutting crime could be undone if criminals are allowed to get the upper hand and take advantage of the longer nights.
“Whether it’s Neighbourhood Watch members keeping a check on their street, shop staff reporting people lurking around at cashing-up time or locals simply keeping their wits about them, our message is clear − you don’t have to be a superhero to stop criminals in their tracks.”
With the return of the darker nights officers will be stepping up their usual crime busting efforts including:
- Encouraging people to join Street Watch initiatives.
- Increased uniformed and plain clothed police patrols for areas identified as potential crime hotspots.
- Officers who are responsible for working with offenders who have been released from prison and keeping them out of trouble will be reminding them of what they have to lose if they return to a life of crime.
- Cars fitted with hidden cameras and silent alarms which alert nearby cops if tampered with will be parked in areas where thieves are known to operate.
- Empty homes will be turned into “capture houses” which spray burglars with invisible inks, record their every movement on spy camera and have tracker devices fitted to valuables alerting officers when they are moved.
- Officers will continue their efforts to secure crackhouse closures, evictions and enforce dispersal orders in place in areas with a history of high reports of anti-social behaviour.
Watch more campaign motion comics:
Vehicle Crime http://www.youtube.com/watch?