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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 17:55 GMT
AMs vote for 'alley-gates' scheme
Burglar climbing through window
Burglaries dropped significantly in Barry after the gates were installed
AMs have voted for regulations which will make it easier for councils to tackle anti-social behaviour by installing gates to block alleys.

"Alley-gating" is the policy of putting locked gates at each end of alleyways running behind homes.

It aims to make it more difficult for burglars, and stops the alleys being used by fly-tippers or drug addicts.

The assembly heard on Tuesday how an alley-gating pilot scheme in Rhyl had led to a 50% reduction in burglaries.

Environment Minister Carwyn Jones said he hoped that communities across Wales would benefit from the changes within months.

The new regulations will allow councils the discretion to gate certain lanes or paths in order to prevent crime.

Tackle issues

Alley-gating has become more popular with police forces and local councils throughout the UK.

"The provisions will allow local authorities to work with the police and local communities to tackle any areas of anti-social behaviour," an assembly government statement said.

"Lanes or paths could be gated at certain times of day only, and gating orders should be reviewed regularly.

"It will be important for other approaches to tackle issues of local crime and anti-social behaviour to be considered as well.

"Gating will not always be the most appropriate option."

In 2005 the Vale of Glamorgan Council invested 300,000 on a gating scheme.

Reductions

The alleys around 2,000 homes in Barry's Castleland area were blocked off.

The keys to those gates were only given to the people who live in the houses backing on to the alley.

Since the installation South Wales Police said there had been a 58% reduction of house burglaries, a 42% reduction in car thefts and a 75% reduction in robberies.

It also won a community award at the annual Association of Public Service Excellence awards.

However, concerns have also been raised that blocking off alleys simply moves crime into other areas.

Trevor Jones, a criminologist from Cardiff University, has said that it could reduce burglary in one area but lead to incidents rising by same amount in unprotected areas.

Money to pay for the gates in the Vale came from the Welsh Assembly Government, the European Union and the private sector.

In 2005, the Home Office announced five projects in Wales would received funding from a pot of 1.2m to improve areas blighted by anti-social behaviour.

These included Acrefair in Wrexham, Merthyr Tydfil, Hengoed, Blackwood and Nantyglo in Blaenau Gwent.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
"These alleys... now allow access to people perhaps we wouldn't like"



SEE ALSO
Alley gates 'help cut crime rate'
26 Feb 05 |  South East Wales
Alley gates scheme to cut crime
11 Oct 04 |  West Yorkshire
Teenage yobs locked out of alleys
27 Aug 04 |  Berkshire

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