Page last updated at 09:08 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 10:08 UK

Shops welcome crime alert system

A system that allows crime-hit shops in Derbyshire to call other businesses for help is being hailed as a success.

At the push of a button, the AlertBox sends a signal which tells others on the network there is a problem with anti-social behaviour or shoplifting.

More than 40 of the boxes were handed out in Swadlincote by the Safer South Derbyshire Partnership in December.

Both organisers and users have said the initiative has made smaller businesses in particular feel less isolated.

Full response

The AlertBox is the size of a paperback book, with six buttons and a screen.

Depending on which button is pressed, shops within a 150m radius get a text message indicating the nature of the problem.

One store manager Helen Parker said it had made a big difference to the area.

She said: "When you press a button, the other boxes show who has sent out the alert, so they should come over or ring you to see what is up.

"And this is hugely important for stores which have just one person working there, the one-man bands, who now know they have back-up and support."

The three-month evaluation of the system found all users received a response, 96% said it had reduced their fear of anti-social behaviour and 87% said AlertBox had reduced the fear of isolation in worrying situations.

Partnership Safer Neighbourhoods Officer Phil Marriott said: "In effect, it has provided an electronic Neighbourhood Watch, enabling people to look out for each other, keep each other informed about what is happening and to help each other where it is possible and practical to do so."



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12 Apr 09 |  Derbyshire

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