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Park life improved

PUBLISHED: 17:51 30 May 2002 | UPDATED: 12:01 03 March 2010

CRIME in an Ipswich park has plummeted since the launch of a scheme to make the area a safer place to live.

Residents living near Landseer Park complained of cars being dumped and torched in the grounds, vandalism and noise nuisance before Park Watch was set up a year ago.

CRIME in an Ipswich park has plummeted since the launch of a scheme to make the area a safer place to live.

Residents living near Landseer Park complained of cars being dumped and torched in the grounds, vandalism and noise nuisance before Park Watch was set up a year ago.

They teamed up with police, Ipswich Borough Council and park rangers to tackle the problems and since then have seen crime drop by a staggering 37 per cent.

The scheme works along the same lines of Neighbourhood Watch with residents reporting problems to a nominated co-ordinator who will be linked with police.

Treasurer Janet Sibley, 56, said: "Along with the police figures park watch members have also noticed that there are not quite so many problems that there used to be.

"As Landseer Park was an open park and can't be shut up at night there was easy access to it. There were stolen cars being dumped on the park and set light to.

"Kids used to gather and use it as a meeting place which led to complaints about noise and the children's play equipment was being damaged on a regular basis, which has now eased off.

"It wasn't riddled with crime but it was a few obviously spoiling it for the majority.

"I didn't think park watch would be quite as affective as it was. But whether or not it is all down to park watch, however, I don't know, but incidents are being reported a lot quicker."

PC Jonathan Gooch, community beat officer for the area, said: "It is a partnership which breaks down the barriers between police and other organisations and makes communication easier. It shows that these schemes work."

Members hold regular meetings, sent out leaflets, newsletters and put notices in the park to show ways to report crime.

Park Watch is also used to find out improvements people would like to see there with a recent survey prompting a 67 percent response from young people.

Now co-ordinators are looking into the possibility of having an all weather pitch on the park, which has been proved in the Thames Valley police area to dramatically reduce crime.

Park Watch schemes are already operating in Christchurch Park and Holywells Park.

nA string of events are taking place at the Landseer Play Centre on Wednesday August 7 as part of National Play Day starting 12 noon. The police crime prevention team will be on hand to post code mobile phones and bicycles and parents are invited to bring their children along for a teddy bear's picnic.


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