Town 'winning fight against crime'

POLICE officers in Woodbridge are winning the fight against crime - but they warned yesterday there was no room for complacency.In the last 12 months there has been a 9% fall in crime in Woodbridge and the surrounding villages and in the last two months there has been a significant drop compared with target figures.

POLICE officers in Woodbridge are winning the fight against crime - but they warned yesterday there was no room for complacency.

In the last 12 months there has been a 9% fall in crime in Woodbridge and the surrounding villages and in the last two months there has been a significant drop compared with target figures.

This has led to a positive spin-off in the town and the Woodbridge Town Centre Action Group meeting was told that traders, licensees and residents felt the level of anti social behaviour and criminal damage had fallen and the town had a better atmosphere.

Nigel Barratt, town and district councillor, said: ''It does appear to be getting better. The shopkeepers, traders and publicans are a bit happier. I still think though there is potentially a problem with gangs coming from outside into Woodbridge.''


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There are concerns about the introduction of new licensing regulations in November when licensed premises will be able to open later and Terry Byford, the police sector commander, said extra resources would be deployed to ensure there was no rowdy behaviour during the run-up to Christmas.

She said Woodbridge police was given a target of 200 crimes a month but in April officers recorded 248 crimes. In May there were 269 crimes, June 221 and July 282 but there was a steep fall in August when 196 crimes were recorded and in September there were 183. In a six-month period there were 1,399 crimes against a target of 1,200.

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''We have had a reduction in burglaries and vehicle crime - we get hit with vehicle crime from time to time when offenders from Ipswich come and target our villages.

''Violent crime is not an issue in this sector. We have had a 53% reduction in violent crime and last month we had five offences. A high proportion of violent crime is within a household where the people know each other. Stranger violent crime does not happen hardly ever in the Woodbridge sector and when it happens it is not in the town centre,'' said Insp Byford.

She said community support officers were expected to be deployed in Woodbridge and this would be beneficial for the town.

Cycle thefts have risen over the summer but police officers postcoded more than 300 cycles at Kesgrave High School and they have campaigned for shopkeepers to postcode new bikes when they are sold, and for newsagents to urge newspaper boys to lock their bikes.

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