Crime in Bolton town centre was more than halved in December, compared to the same time three years ago.
There were 132 crimes in the town centre in total in December 2010, compared to 183 crimes in December 2009 and 285 in December 2007.
This is largely due to a crime and antisocial behaviour crackdown named Operation Sherry, which now runs every December and sees the police, Bolton Council and other agencies working together to ensure that people living and working in the town centre can go about their business trouble-free over the festive period.
The operation saw 47 people arrested for a variety of offences including public order, pickpocketing and purse thefts. Nine fixed penalty notices were issued and 16 people were given a direction to leave order, which stops them from returning to an area for up to 48 hours.
Vehicle crime was virtually eliminated with only one report of this crime in the town centre throughout the whole month. There was also a large drop in the number of serious assaults with only five taking place, compared to 13 during the previous December.
During the daytime, activities to target vehicle crime, pickpocketing and shoplifting took place, with CCTV being closely monitored. More than 5,000 purse bells were attached to the purses of elderly and vulnerable women in the town centre to prevent purse thefts.
Police from Bolton’s Central Neighbourhood Policing Team carried out regular patrols through the day and night so they were easily on hand to deal with any incidents that occurred, with some officers walking an average of around 10 miles each per day.
The second phase of the operation focused on Bolton’s night-time economy, with licensees in Bolton’s Pub Watch scheme supporting the Think Safe Drink Safe campaign, with staff wearing Think Safe t-shirts and displaying posters in their premises.
A main focus of the initiative was once again to promote responsible drinking and Street Angels helped special constables to hand out more than 1,500 bottles of water to revellers over three weekends to encourage them to pace their drinks.
Two thousand spoof Drunk & Disorderly Inn leaflets (advertising Bolton’s custody suite as a hotel) were also distributed.
Sergeant Paul Ellis said: “The aim of our operation was not to spoil people’s fun while they were out enjoying themselves over the festive period, but to deal with troublemakers to make sure that the law abiding people of Bolton could go out and enjoy themselves safely.
“Officers were highly visible around the town throughout the day and night, and feedback from the public has once again been extremely positive, particularly in the way that we have been encouraging people to drink more responsibly while they were out in the pubs and clubs at weekends.
“A lot of planning and resources go into this high-profile operation, from the police, council and other agencies, and so we are pleased that this effort has paid off and crime has continued to fall again during December.”
To report crime, please call police on 0161 872 5050 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For more information about community safety visit the Be Safe website.