Crime down by a third in town centre

THEFT and anti-social behaviour in an Essex town dropped by a third thanks to a festive crack-down on crime.

James Hore

THEFT and anti-social behaviour in an Essex town dropped by a third thanks to a festive crack-down on crime.

Essex Police, along with partner agencies, said there were “delighted” with the success of Operation Christmas Cracker which reduced theft and anti-social behaviour by a third in Braintree town centre throughout December.

The operation was based on preventing crime in busy town centres across the county with an emphasis on high-visibility policing.

Thefts dropped from 27 offences in December 2008 to 18 last month - a decrease of 33%.

And reports of anti-social behaviour fell by nearly 40% with 23 offences compared to 37 the previous December.

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Police have said that a “crucial part” of the operation was crime prevention and purse safety advice given to shoppers by officers on patrol as well as coffee mornings at residential homes.

Braintree south sergeant, Zoe Insull, said: “Officers were out in force throughout December, and I'm delighted that Operation Christmas Cracker produced such a dramatic drop in crime in Braintree town centre.

“Members of the public and local shop keepers responded very enthusiastically to our officers patrolling in the town centre.

“There was lots of positive feedback from the community.

“Ultimately, the most satisfying part of the operation is knowing that, together, we prevented a lot of Christmas crime from happening.”

Tracey Chapman, in charge of community safety at Essex County Council, added: “The aim of the operation was to take a pro-active stance against this type of crime and the figures show that is exactly what it has done.

“Christmas Cracker was a master-class in partnership working, which has made a marked difference for our residents and local businesses alike.”

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