Gates installed to block alleys in a south Wales town have already led to a fall in crime, according to police.
Burglaries dropped significantly after the gates were installed
The Vale of Glamorgan Council has spent £300,000 on the scheme in Barry to make access more difficult for burglars, drug abusers and vandals.
Since the gates were installed, there has been a 58% reduction of house burglaries. Only residents are given keys to get into the alleys.
Similar schemes are beginning in Rhyl, Cardiff, Wrexham and Milford Haven.
The alleys around 2,000 homes in Barry's Castleland area will have been blocked off by the end of 2005.
Money to pay for the gates has come from the Welsh assembly government, the European Union and the private sector.
Keith Jones, operational manager at the council's highways department, told the BBC's Politics Show: "We had a problem in Barry, in common with other town areas, where we have a burglary problem, a crime problem... and other anti-social activities.
"What we wanted to do was stop those things kind of happening, and return the area, the environment, back to the people themselves."
Alleys are often used to dump rubbish and commit crime
Inspector Geraint Evans from South Wales Police has worked with the council to make alley-gates a reality.
Having studied their effect in Liverpool he believes in their capacity to cut burglary and car crime.
"So far our analysis would show there's been a significant reduction in both of those types of crime - there's been a 58% reduction in house burglaries, 42% reduction in car theft and 28% in theft from cars."
However, concerns have been raised that blocking off alleys does not cut crime, just displaces it.
Trevor Jones, a criminologist at the University of Wales, Cardiff, said: "You may have a scheme that succeeds in reducing burglary in that area but burglary simply goes up by the same amount in unprotected areas.
"Or alternatively, would-be burglars turn to other kinds of crime, so car crime goes up."
But Inspector Geraint Evans believes secure spaces behind homes will bring people together.
"The plus sides of this, is the increase in community spirit because people are out the back.
"The children in the locality are getting to know one another again... their parents are getting to know one another as a result of it. The social side of things picks up."
The Politics Show is on BBC1 on Sunday at 1230GMT.