Crime-hit residents forced to pay £126 a week for guards to patrol streets

Families plagued by frequent burglaries have been forced to pay for private security guards to police the streets.

Around 60 people living near a retail park in Birmingham have all agreed to chip in and pay £126 a week to insure their safety.

Those living in roads situated at the back of Princess Alice Retail Park in Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, have said that the added cost has improved the community spirit.

John Edkins, one of the residents taking action against criminals in the area told BirminghamLive: "What we noticed during November and early December was a real surge in attempted break-ins and car thefts.

"We haven’t seen this sort of crime in the area for ten to 15 years so, quite simply, we decided to do something about it."

Mr Edkins said that the another street nearby had taken out private security and inspired his proposal to his neighbours.

He said: "There’s about 130 to 140 homes. It started out with a WhatsApp group which has grown and we’re seeing the benefit of the private security company who come out and patrol on our behalf."

John said that he and 69 neighbours are all in a WhatsApp group and paying around £10 per month to fund the added security.

"It’s proving to be very successful," said the 67-year-old.

"It’s added to the community spirit, everyone’s looking out for each other.

"It’s great. It’s instant communication if we see anything suspicious, from people milling around homes to cars being parked up."

"Recently, a car parked up and three assailants were in the middle of burgling a house. Police turned up and blocked the car in which was stolen.

"They managed to run away though but it’s that sort of thing we’ve been helping each other with.

"We’ve got a PCSO who we work closely with and, of those incidents which have required call-outs, police have been here within minutes.

"They’re pleased there are more eyes and ears as resources are in short supply, as everyone knows.

"We’ve reported homeless people sleeping rough in the park and strange cars and people loitering nearby, especially during the festive period.

"Everyone’s feeling assured and that’s the main thing. It’s added to the community here as well, especially with the WhatsApp group."

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