by Tom McBeth
A survey, undertaken by the Yeltham Neighbourhood Watch Federation, has revealed the perception that crime is on the increase.
The survey revealed that 72% of residents said they were worried about burglary, and more than half asked said they were worried about vandalism and anti-social behaviour after dark.
The danger of being out in Yeltham at night is also highlighted as a concern.
Also, 62% of over 70s said they are too frightened to go out in their own communities after dark and are worried when answering the door to strangers.
As a result, a thousand door safety chains have been ordered and offered to pensioners on a first come, first serve basis and fitted by members of the committee.
Results of the survey were provided by Rob Littler, Chairman of the Yeltham Neighbourhood Watch Federation, a scheme set up to help residents report suspicious activity in their area.
The scheme covers around 9,500 households, made up of 474 Neighbourhood Watches across Yeltham.
“Pensioners on this estate are very fearful”, said Gerald Parkins, Chairman of the Lupsham Estate Community Association.
Chief Inspector Antony Wardell of Yeltham Police stated that the fear of crime itself “is also an important issue because this can impact equally on people’s lives. It is important to allay unnecessary fears.”
Despite the need to tackle the issues raised, the Neighbourhood Watch Federation has little money of its own, and much of the funding is provided by donations.
The Yeltham Crime Prevention Panel, Chair of which, Jeffrey Steele, said he hoped “local businesses will back [the Federation] with financial support.”