Thefts from Hull city centre stores are down
CRIME in the city centre is falling, according to the latest figures for the Hull Bid area.
Humberside Police says the number of thefts from shops for the first eight months of this year was 427 compared with 565 for the same period last year.
Acts of criminal damage also fell to 75 – half the figure for January to August last year.
Inspector Lee Edwards, of the Riverside Neighbourhood Policing Team, said the success is down to a number of factors, including the Hull Business Improvement District's (Bid) shop radio system.
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It gives staff the power to alert other stores of customers acting suspiciously, warn them of known criminals and help to prevent theft.
They pay a one-off charge to receive a radio and, as a result of recent investment, a further 15 are available for loan.
Inspector Edwards said: "It is a real asset in the fight against crime.
"The additional investment is another example of Hull Bid working to protect its members.
"People should still contact us if they need help with an emergency or non-emergency, but this provides another option."
Figures show thefts from people in the Hull Bid area fell from 65 to 54, while the total number of crimes during the period were down from 817 last year to 593.
Robin Barker, team manager at Boots in Prospect Street, said the radio system has had a "massive impact".
He said: "We all have a radio and earpiece connecting us to the other businesses and we check in every morning to let them know we're on the airwaves.
"If anyone is acting suspiciously, we can alert other shop owners and it can help to reduce theft.
"Shoplifters tend to go for high-end goods, such as expensive perfumes, in Boots. They come in for a particular purpose.
"Coming up to Christmas, which is our busiest time, the radio system helps to prevent theft in the store."
Mr Barker said staff at Boots uses its radio up to 15 times a week and he thinks the drop in crime is good news for the city.
He said: "Hull Bid has been brilliant in the past few years, not just with the radio system but for keeping the city centre clean and free of graffiti.
"If it were to disappear, I think we would definitely see a decrease in people's confidence."
Kathryn Shillito, Hull Bid city centre manager, said by expanding the radio system, they aim to make the equipment available to businesses on a short-term basis so they can try before they buy.
She said: "Compared with other retail radio services, which also charge an annual administration fee as opposed to our one-off charge, it represents excellent value."
To find out how police are tackling a rise in shoplifting from North Point Shopping Centre, turn to pages 24-25.