Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews has hailed the success of a safety project that has helped protect 89 Melton Mowbray homes from the risk of burglary and theft.
Since the launch of the Safer Streets 2 project last summer, security experts have visited hundreds of residents in the town to carry out free risk assessments as part of a plan to increase safety and prevent crime.
In total, Melton residents received 1,000 free security products over the 10-month project ranging from new locks, window alert alarms, light timers and door bar/chains while 98 bicycle/vehicle packages were distributed to help protect residents from theft. In addition, all residents received a Personal Attack Alarm and a Property Marking Kit.
Mr Matthews said: "The Safer Streets scheme has been a phenomenal success and it is rewarding for all involved to hear about the positive impact these improvements have had on confidence, peace of mind and feelings of safety.
"Our partners 24-7 Locks Ltd and Melton Borough Council have worked relentlessly to ensure our communities receive the full benefit of this funding, with 24-7 Locks Ltd in particular delivering a huge programme of works within a challenging timeframe.
"Preventing crime was always a key aim of the scheme but we also set out to help free people of the fear of crime so they no longer felt apprehensive about leaving their homes. It is clear from the feedback we've received that these security products have improved confidence and safety considerably.
"There is always more to do of course, and I will build on this progress with our partners in the near future, exploring every available funding opportunity to bring further improvements to our communities and reduce the risk of street crime."
The Safer Streets 2 project has been funded by a £432k grant secured by Mr Matthews following a successful bid to the Home Office's Safer Streets Fund.
This was topped up by a further £50k grant from the Home Office in January to expand the security scheme.
Together, the grant has funded security upgrades to more than 1,000 homes across the areas of Castle Donington, Hinckley, Lutterworth and Melton Mowbray - areas impacted by disproportionate levels of serious acquisitive crimes such burglary, robbery and theft.
Alongside free home improvements, the scheme has funded new police automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, four remotely accessed high-definition CCTV cameras that are situated in prime locations within Melton town centre with an additional five smaller deployable CCTV cameras that will be used in ASB hot spots and enhanced streetlighting in some areas.
Melton resident Miss Wright, 64, who benefitted from the scheme, said: "I've been very fortunate in that I've not been a victim of burglary but I certainly feel safer now that the security has gone in because I now have extra measures there. If someone was to go down that road, I would be better protected.
"I've had the latest locks fitted on my front door and they also replaced my door viewer so it sits at eye level and has a latch so the other person can't look in. We also had a steering lock for the car and (signal blocking) pouch, door stops and a personal alarm as well as a flashing light I can plug in to make it look like the TV is on.
"It was a really good scheme, they've thought about every different aspect of security and what people might need.
"The gentleman who came out was very friendly and reassuring and explained everything to me. I was very impressed."
Councillor Malise Graham, Portfolio Holder for People and Communities at Melton Borough Council said: "The Safer streets 2 project has immensely benefitted our town centre and the residents who live there. We have taken multiple steps to prevent crime and anti-social behaviours in the town centre, using the funding to improve lighting and CCTV in key areas.
"Furthermore, as part of the scheme we were able to work with partners to ensure that those residing in the town centre were offered improved home security. 24-7 Locks Ltd carried out extensive works on local homes including free security assessments and advice and the installation of high security door locks, window locks and window alert alarms.
"We are committed to supporting our communities and we are delighted to be part of this scheme allowing us to take steps to prevent crime and improve residents' sense of security within their homes and community."
Of the core security products, 24-7 Locks Ltd distributed 122 three-star Diamond-Rated, Anti-Snap Cylinders to secure the main points of access to properties, 168 light timers, 43 door bar/chains and 311 window alarms.