A ‘WORRYING’ spate of purse thefts in Bulwell has led to a special initiative to combat this type of crime.
Shoppers are to be given coloured cables to attach purses to handbags so that pickpockets cannot snatch them. The cable can also be used to hang bags from shopping trolleys.
The bright colours will give added security and are expected to act as a deterrent to thieves.
Members of Nottingham City Council’s Bulwell ward are financing 300 cables from their personal budgets to the tune of £176. This will be for a trial period to see how effective the idea proves to be.
The cable campaign is being supported by Nottinghamshire police. The whole of Bulwell will be covered and the cables will at first be distributed at meetings of tenants and residents associations.
Bulwell police commander Insp Andy Goodall confirmed that there had been a series of purse thefts at Bulwell Market in June. Eleven offences were reported, involving the theft of such items when left unattended.
Insp Goodall said the victims were mainly pensioners who placed bags on shopping trolleys while in supermarkets. He said the number of purse thefts had dropped since a suspect was arrested, having been identified on CCTV, and placed in custody.
A city council report said Bulwell’s safer neighbourhood team thought that physically attaching a purse to a handbag, combined with other police-based activity, would help to bring down the number of thefts.
It was thought that thieves tended to target one area and then move on, which indicated that any lull could be followed by a ‘flurry’, the report added.
One of the Bulwell councillors, Ginny Klein (Lab), said people were being given an opportunity to take advantage of the chance to get the protective cables free of charge.
She added: “People need to become aware that they could become victims of theft.
“We are trying to encourage them to be aware of this risk and impress upon them that they need to keep their handbags closed and tight under their arms.”
Another ward member, Coun John Hartshorne (Lab), said the outbreak of purse thefts was worrying, considering that the council had run a poster campaign over the last two years to raise awareness of such offences in the area.
He added that while the campaign was aimed at young and middle-aged people, further analysis had shown that the main victims were pensioners.
Coun Hartshorne said the council had asked itself how it could engage better with older people, who could be ‘too trusting at times’, and were vulnerable targets for thieves.