We're patrolling our own streets

RESIDENTS are patrolling the streets of their Halifax neighbourhood to crack down on what they say is a crime wave.

The Park ward community has been hit by a spate of break-ins including two violent burglaries over the last few weeks.

Residents are now driving around, keeping an eye on the area between 11pm and 4am.

Police say they have quadrupled the number of officers in the area and have a team of detectives working round the clock to catch the culprits.

Muhammad Sultan, of Madni Mosque, Gibbet Street, said: "At King Cross two or three people every night are taking a shift just watching for anything suspicious. If they see anything they will let the police know straight away," he said.

Mr Sultan met police this week and praised them for their efforts.

He said he had been told more than 20 people had been interviewed in connection to the crimes.

"Police are doing their job very well," he said. "At the mosque we have been asked to put three people on every street but we can't do that, it is the police's job."

One 21-year-old man said: "These gangs are striking and it's mainly the Asian community, who tends to keep gold in their homes. It's all people are talking about.".

B&Q, Halifax, has reported a surge in sales of security devices. A B&Q spokesman said: "Quite a lot of people have been buying security devices and I have had a few ask about CCTV and alarm systems.".

Chief Inspector Martin Lister, heading the operation, said he encouraged people to help the police by being extra sets of eyes and ears.

But he said people must ring 999 if they see anyone committing a crime, and not try to tackle it themselves.

"We have the training and equipment to deal with people. We're the ones who should be stopping and searching people and apprehending people," he said.

He said the number of break-ins in the area had dramatically reduced since police stepped up patrols last week.

There are now 66 officers working in the area through the day – four times the usual number.