MAJOR cafe chains in the City of Westminster have been using crime prevention measures such as The Chelsea Clip to prevent and deter handbag and laptop theft and have slashed petty crime by half.
Wesminster Council’s Café Watch programme was established five years ago and involves working with all the main coffee-shop chains, sharing intelligence, carrying out police checks and providing extra staff training. It is being funded by the Met Police and Westminster City Council.
The cafes taking part include Starbucks, Eat, Costa Coffee, Coffee Republic, Pret and Café Nero. The number of crimes reported in these chains fell from a total of 816 in the first three months of 2007 to 397 in the same period this year (2010). Reported crimes include theft of mobile phones, aggressive begging by gangs, thefts of laptop computers and bags.
As part of the scheme, staff are encouraged to remind members of the public to look after their personal property; and proprietors are encouraged to use CCTV images to identify people involved in incidents and to provide evidence to enable appropriate action to be taken.
The Chelsea Clip has been used as part of the Cafe Watch scheme in higher crime risk areas in the City of Westminster. Marketed by security company Selectamark, the Chelsea Clip is an injection-moulded nylon hook from which a bag, mobile phone or other small item of personal luggage, can be suspended by its own strap.
Two hands are needed to remove an item from the Clip, making 'handbag snatching' virtually impossible. It can be used under the table, at the bar, or in a washroom area in pubs, cafes and restaurants as well as anywhere that personal property may be vulnerable to theft.
Westminster City Councillor Daniel Astaire said: “The success of this scheme just goes to show how effective we can be at driving down crime when we work together.
“Some of the measures used in Café Watch such as the Chelsea Clips and reminding people to be vigilant can seem relatively simple but can make all the difference.”
A Café Watch booklet has been designed in conjunction with the Met Police, which outlines specific good practice in coffee shops and promotes deterrent design criteria for new premises. The scheme is now expected to be extended to smaller businesses, such as family-owned café outlets.
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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