Villagers turn to Facebook to win the battle against crime

A BATTLE against crime launched by Harbury people appears to have won – for now.

A spate of burglaries in the new year that laid claim to scores of victims in the village – including a tree surgeon from whom £28,000 worth of equipment was stolen – prompted a group of residents to tackle the problem themselves.

Following a meeting in February to see what could be done, a number of villagers formed their own ‘neighbourhood watch’ group – not affiliated to the national organisation – through which they reported sightings of suspicious activity on the social media website Facebook and then passed these on to the police.

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The person who set it up, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Courier this week: “We set up this group to highlight to the police that we are sick to the teeth of it.

“The crime taking place during recent months has mostly been petty, but it became a game to the perpetrators and it was really frustrating people.”

Officers at the Southam safer neighbourhood team, which covers Harbury, encouraged villagers to report every incident of crime or suspicious activity, while they have also been patrolling the area in unmarked police cars.

Sgt Richard Thomas, who leads the team, said: “We are intelligence led, so after being made aware of the concern in Harbury, we increased our patrols there. Now the crime has tailed off we will carry on with our normal patrols as we do in other villages.”

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He said a police-led ‘crime prevention’ day would be held in Harbury this month.

The resident who set up the ‘neighbourhood watch’ group agreed that the crime has subsided, adding: “We feel something is at least being done about it now.

“The perseverance of our community has got more resources from the police and we will continue to do what we can to prevent crime from occurring here.”