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The bells of Brixton toll on town centre crime

More than 1,400 bells were handed out in Brixton by Lambeth council and the police as part of an operation that successfully cut crime in the area during the Olympics.

The bells, which were handed out for free in the town centre, were attached to people’s purses and bags and worked as an alert against pick pocketing and theft.

They were distributed during the operation which came to a close on Thursday, August 30 after building even stronger community links and cutting bag snatches and robberies crime in the area.

Cllr Jack Hopkins, Cabinet member for Public Protection, said: “Brixton is a fantastic place to visit and we have clearly demonstrated our determination to keep it that way.

“Handing out bells to residents and tourists was an innovative way of tackling crime and proved to be a real deterrent to potential thieves.

“I’m delighted that the hard work put in the Met and our community safety team during the Olympics saw street crime significantly fall during a period when there was a real risk that the number of offences could have risen sharply.”

Lambeth’s Anti-Social Behaviour Action Team and officers from the Coldharbour Safer Neighbourhood Team worked together on the initiative.

They helped protect the extra tourists visiting Brixton during the games and worked to prevent theft, robbery, drug dealing, begging, gang activity and street drinking.

The team also distributed personal theft awareness flyers, property marked mobile phones and distributed table hooks to bars, clubs and coffee shops to help protect customer’s bags.

There were alcohol seizures made around Windrush Square and O2 Academy, extra patrols around Brixton market and side streets, mobile CCTV recording, discussions about crime issues with business owners and a number of arrests made.

To tackle the trend in mobile phone thefts in and around the town centre eight mobile phone stall holders were signed up to Responsible Retailers Agreement.

It requires them to keep a log of the phones they buy and sell, and to share information with police about their stock.

The operation, which started on July 27, resulted in just 13 street crime offences in the past fortnight, compared to 27 in the previous two week.

That broke down to eight robberies and five bag snatches compared to 20 robberies and seven snatches during the previous period.

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