More residents to benefit from burglar alarm project

More than 260 Derbyshire residents who have been the victim of a burglary will benefit from the next phase of a project to fit cut-price alarms to their homes.

Derbyshire County Council launched the scheme six years ago and it was such a success that it was expanded to other parts of the county.

Traditionally, burglary victims without an alarm are at high risk of being targeted again soon after a break-in – but latest figures show no-one who had an alarm fitted as part of the scheme has suffered a repeat burglary.

So far 374 residents have benefited and the county council has now set aside £120,000 to allow work to continue for the next 12 months.

It will pay for around 266 more alarms for burglary victims who are referred to the project by the police. The project works on a strict police referral-only basis to ensure alarms are only offered in cases where they would have most benefit.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health Councillor Carol Hart said: “This project is hugely important for residents who’ve been emotionally and financially devastated by burglary.

“People who’ve had an alarm fitted told us they also felt safer and less worried about crime which we know is a major consideration affecting their quality of life.”

Homeowners are asked to contribute £75 towards the cost of an alarm, which are fitted free for residents receiving benefits.

Councillor Hart added: “Home Office figures estimate that the average cost of a burglary is £3,268 per household – this is in addition to the emotional cost.

“Following a police referral we arrange for the alarm to be fitted so there is no added stress at what is already a traumatic time. Residents are not only saving money on having an alarm fitted but are also buying peace of mind.”

Latest figures show a seven per cent drop in burglaries across Derbyshire from 2,670 in 2009/10 to 2,477 in 2010/11.

The burglar alarm project was launched in Chesterfield in 2005 where police figures showed the highest number of break-ins.

Following its success it was extended in 2007 to North East Derbyshire and Bolsover and to Amber Valley, Erewash, South Derbyshire, Derbyshire Dales and High Peak in 2008.