A regeneration scheme and a new theft deterrent programme using DNA will transform a housing estate in Grangetown, Middlesbrough.
The housing association, Coast & Country Housing, is upgrading Grangetown North to a more modern, community through the improvement and rennovation of over 340 properties.
The association has also purchased hundreds of Selectamark's SelectaDNA forensic marking kits for use as part of a ‘clean up' operation on the estate. The scheme is being supported by local police force Eston Police, and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.
The Council have purchased SelectaDNA kits for the 100-plus owner occupiers who live on the estate. The aim of the project is to reduce theft and anti-social behaviour, which is a major issue for the community.
The marking of residents' property is being carried out jointly by housing staff, police PCSOs, and community wardens. This collaboration has led to improved relationships between staff from the different organisations, and more importantly with residents too.
In fact, many Grangetown North residents have recently expressed an interest in joining their local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, Residents' Association and being involved in future community events.
SelectaDNA has already been used successfully in other property marking schemes on housing estates in the UK and has been shown to reduce burglaries by up to 85%.
SelectaDNA works by irrefutably linking criminals to burglaries and break-ins. The product consists of a water-based adhesive containing a locked-in DNA code, a UV tracer and a series of microdots which can be easily applied to any items of value, such as laptops, computer equipment, TVs, DVD players, iPods and mobile phones.
John Earnshaw, Selectamark's head of housing, said: "We are delighted that the residents of Grangetown North will benefit from our forensic marking kits to protect their homes and property. As SelectaDNA also works as a deterrent to thieves, we are very confident that the scheme will result in a reduction in burglaries very quickly. "
As part of the upgrading process at Grangetown North, over 300 properties are being updated, which will have a major visual impact on the estate.
Coast & Country's Lesley Conroy, area co-ordinator for Grangetown, said: "This upgrading programme is not just about buildings, but about people too. We want to get closer to the community by organising a series of events and social activities involving the children and other members of the community on the estate. [...] we have been liaising with the headmaster of the local school on a DNA project that ties in with the forensic marking aspect of SelectaDNA. The idea being that the children can teach their parents more about it and how it works! This will also link to other aspects of work we will be doing with the school and residents about improving the environment."
Selectamark's John Earnshaw concluded: "I would encourage anyone thinking of running a crime reduction scheme similar to the one at Grangetown North to contact us and we can offer you expert, professional advice and support from set-up to completion. There are various levels of scheme on offer and each level is reasonably priced to suit your funding. We can even offer advice on which organisations could help you finance your crime reduction scheme."