Mark Williams: Thefts in capital down

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As you may have recently seen in the Evening News, we have now launched our new Community Ward Officers across the city.

These are officers that are directly funded by the City of Edinburgh Council and who will be based locally in all wards across the Capital. All of the officers’ names and contact details have been widely shared with elected representatives, local community groups and other interested parties. In addition, you’ll find their details on Facebook and we’ll be keeping you updated with their activities over the months ahead.

Local policing is critical in the city and I think this development is a fantastic step forward. Having a named and identifiable community officer will mean there is a consistent and trusted face to contact for advice and support. Once a quarter, I will report back to the Council Scrutiny Committee on their activities and I am confident that they will make a real impact at a local level, tackling the issues you think are most important.

In other news, you may well be aware that around 100,000 students are due back in town this month! This is a busy time for all the colleges and universities as they welcome new and returning undergraduates. We’ll be working closely with the students and the colleges to offer simple but effective safety advice and guidance, and our student safety campaign is being heavily marketed to reach as many of them as possible.

Part of that message includes advice on keeping property safe. As you will be aware targeting thieves is a core priority in the Capital. The good news is that thefts in general are down and we are making real in-roads into housebreaking in particular. Since the launch of Operation RAC we have arrested 315 housebreakers, carried out 867 bail curfew checks, submitted 322 intelligence logs, carried out 616 stop-and-searches for stolen property (of which 33 per cent were positive) and dedicated almost 5000 hours to prevention patrols.

There will be no let-up in these efforts and I am confident we will continue to drive down housebreaking as we head towards the darker nights. Remember, there are lots of easy, basic home security measures you can use. There’s plenty of useful information on the Police Scotland website and I would encourage you to give it a read and consider getting a home security survey free of charge from local crime prevention officers.

Every little 
bit of prevention helps and together we can make it harder for criminals.