Selly Oak Police Weekly Wrap-Up 14th November 2014

Hello all and thanks for reading this feature of the I LOVE SELLY OAK website. The aim of this blog is to provide the community around Selly Oak, particularly Bournbrook with updates on policing activity in the area and encourage more of you to engage with your local police team, Guild of Students and your neighbours!

 Firstly I’d like to update you on crime in and around Bournbrook and assure you that my team and officers from Birmingham South Policing Unit are working with the University, Local Councillors, Bournbrook Community Safety Partnership and the Guild of Students to make the area a safe place to live, work and play. Burglary is an issue that the vast majority of residents I speak to raise and are rightly concerned about, the good news that i reported in the last blog continues; following on from a 62.5% reduction in September, a 27.3% reduction in October current performance shows that we have reduced burglary in November by 63.6% so far in November with just four burglaries across the whole ward and importantly only one in Bournbrook.

The context here is that just three student houses in Bournbrook have been targeted by burglars since the beginning of the academic year, this is a significant reduction but one that could change overnight. The threat of burglary remains and was highlighted over the weekend when a house on Tiverton Road was broken into and a student had her computer stolen, how did the offender get in? Quite simply the side alley gate was left wide open and unlocked and the back door of the house had also been left unlocked. PLEASE shut alley gates and lock your front and back doors when you go out and even when you’re in, it only takes a matter of seconds for an offender to try your door, enter and walk out with your personal property! The additional good news is that robbery and vehicle crime in the area are down by 20% compared to last year too!

Secondly I’d like to talk about #deepbreath, the Police supported Pubwatch campaign to raise awareness of alcohol harm and reduce alcohol related violence. The initiative is well underway now and we have a huge amount of data to crunch through already! A particular measure we are keen to impact on are the number of ‘violence with injury’ crimes associated with alcohol and the busy Bournbrook and Guild night time economy, though regular patrols during key times throughout the year alongside a strengthened working relationship with licenced venues we have already seen some reductions in this area, the #deepbreath initiative is designed to keep these levels low and hopefully see them reduce even further. After some initial negative feedback from a very small number of students in the area the feedback from venues is positive, particularly from the Guild of Students. The data from this time last year is stark; 25% of all violence with injury victims were students and alcohol was an aggravating factor, by no means is this designed to stop the community having a good time or as some have stated ‘create a police state’ in fact the opposite is true. We want to promote Selly Oak as a safe place to socialise and make it clear that if you’ve had too much to drink you put yourself at risk and are potentially more vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime. We’ll crunch the numbers and update you on this initiative and its effect here between now and the end of January 2015.

In relation to an incident reported in local news regarding a firearms incident on the 11th November I can’t go into detail regarding the investigation but I can assure you that no-one was injured and that no-one involved in the incident is connected to the Selly Oak area. Crime continues to fall and the number of victims of all crime is reducing, this is a result of a more joined up approach by public services in the area and your awareness and vigilance in reporting incidents, trusting the police to deal with these matters.

Please join us for our next live tasking meeting on Monday 24th November from 7pm at Elim Church, Exeter Road, Selly Oak or join us online by clicking on this link To ask questions online please use #asksellyoak via twitter.

Selly Oak Police Weekly Wrap-up 29th October 2014

Hello all and thanks for reading what will be a regular feature of the I LOVE SELLY OAK website between now and the end of the academic year. The aim of this blog is to provide the community around Selly Oak, particularly Bournbrook with updates on policing activity in the area and encourage more of you to engage with your local police team, Guild of Students and your neighbours!
I’ll start with the last point, your neighbours, do you know them? If not, then why not? I think the best advice we could give to students living in Bournbrook, other than making sure your doors and windows are shut and locked (even when you’re in – I’ll expand on this later), is to treat your rented house as though you had bought it. It’s highly likely that whatever part of the country you live in you’ll know your neighbours – why should university living be any different? The benefits of knowing your neighbour mean that you won’t walk past their house without paying it any attention, you’ll relate that house to a person and if there is a door or window open or something that looks suspicious or out of place, such as an alarm going off, you will be more likely to knock on the door to make sure everything is ok or even call the police if needs be. Give it some thought – you might just prevent a crime by saying hello and getting to know your neighbours!
Onto a crime update now, since the start of the academic year my team have been visiting student houses in Bournbrook to install door and window alarms along with marking your property making it less attractive to would be burglars. So far we’ve managed to install crime reduction items at over 200 houses – the team will be out tonight, shoulder to shoulder with the Guild Community Wardens knocking on your door and asking to install our burglary packs and mark your property. We will continue this initiative throughout the first semester!
One of the overwhelming things I hear when I speak to a house full of students is the feeling that crime, especially burglary, is really prevalent in the area – let me be clear about this, burglary in Bournbrook is currently at the lowest levels we have seen for many years. The riskiest period for burglary in Selly Oak tends to be between fresher’s week and the Christmas period, this period last year saw record low levels of burglary which was a real testament to the strong partnership we have with the Guild of Students and the University of Birmingham. So far this academic year, we have built on the tactics in place last year and reduced burglary by over 60% in September and this month to date by 30%. Again, I can’t stress enough the need to make sure your doors, windows and side alley gating are all secure and locked. When you go out remember to leave your lights on and a TV or radio switched on, it all adds to the illusion that you are in – a far less appealing target for a burglar.
Over the weekend we saw a house on Selly Hill Road targeted by a burglary offender who accessed the premises from the rear, climbed onto a flat roof and entered a rear bedroom through an open window where they stole a laptop – this just highlights the need to keep windows, doors and especially side alleyway gating locked! If you gating is broken or the locks don’t work please get in touch with us and we will ask the local charity who maintain the gating network to come out and fix things!
You’ll have noticed the #deepbreath campaign that is being supported by the local police through the PUBWATCH forum. I will expand in greater detail on the first few weeks results in next weeks wrap up, there have been a few negative comments around this initiative but let me assure you now that there is no agenda here – especially as far as the FAB nights at the Guild are concerned. #deepbreath is designed to raise the awareness of alcohol harm and assist the police and community in reducing the number of victims of violent crime – nothing more, nothing less. It’s something that’s helped to keep the community safe in other areas of the country and will run until the end of 2014 where we will analyse the results and assess whether this is something that could be rolled out full time.
I’ll leave you with the good news that Robbery and Vehicle Crime are seeing year on year reductions of well over 20% and that total crime (everything we record) is also showing a reduction of over 3%. Although burglary is under control at the moment the risk remains and could change if we don’t stay vigilant and make it more difficult for offenders to access properties.
Enjoy the rest of your week and follow the team @sellyoakpolice on twitter for daily updates.
T/Sergeant 5062 Simon Williams.