Posted: Fri 5th Mar 2021

Plans to gate off alleyways on Wrexham housing estate look set to be approved in bid to stop burglars for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

Plans to gate off alleyways on a Wrexham housing estate look set to be approved in a bid to stop burglars.

Senior councillors are due to meet next week to discuss proposals to restrict access to eight alleyways in the Queensway area of Caia Park, which are said to have become “rat runs” for criminals.

It follows statistics being published which show that there were 105 house burglaries in the area between 2016 to 2019.

A report to members of Wrexham Council’s executive board states that more than 60 per cent of the offences occurred at night, with entry gained through back doors via rear alleyways.

It’s been claimed that introducing gating could reduce break ins by more than 40 per cent, based on figures from areas where similar measures have been put in place.

In order to push the plans forward, the council will be required to implement a Public Spaces Protection Order covering the alleys.

A draft copy of the order highlights that crime rates in Wrexham are the highest across North Wales, with “acquisitive crimes” like burglaries and thefts in Caia Park accounting for a significant proportion of the figures.

It states: “Analysis shows these vulnerable localities generate a disproportionately high amount of demand for law enforcement and partners.

“From evidence these factors are also known to contribute adversely to levels of acquisitive crime and burglary.

“Community consultation highlighted that 74 per cent of residents did not feel safe in their community.”

It adds: “The estate is poorly laid out with alleys and “rat runs” at the rear of properties which facilitate movement for people involved in criminality.

“Current CCTV in the area is limited as shown in the map of the burglary hotspots.”

Consultations have been carried out with residents directly affected by the proposals, resulting in a number of concerns being raised.

It includes that the gates will make it more difficult for care workers and delivery drivers to access properties.

In order to address the issue, people whose homes back onto the alleys will be provided with keys to unlock the gates, while others who require access will be able to obtain a key from a 24-hour security hut.

Cllr Hugh Jones, the local authority’s lead member for public protection

and community safety, urged his colleagues to ensure the gates are installed “as soon as possible”.

The near £26,000 cost of the gates will be covered by the Home Office Safer Streets fund, which requires work to be carried out before the end of this month.

In the report, Cllr Jones said: “On the 29th July 2020, the Home Office announced that the North Wales bids had been successful, together with another 50 across England and Wales.

“The project in Queensway was allocated £550,000 to implement a suite of physical interventions, aimed at reducing the level of crime.

“A condition of the grant is that the works must be completed by 31 March 2021.

“This has been a challenging timescale, particularly with the impact of COVID.”

Other measures to drive down crime levels on the estate will include extra CCTV cameras and the use of automatic number plate recognition technology to monitor organised crime groups.

New and upgraded lighting will be also installed and 870 burglary prevention packs are set to be distributed to residents whose homes are vulnerable to break ins.

A decision on the alley gate plans will be made by executive board members at a meeting on Tuesday (March 9, 2021).

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter

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