In April, the Home Office set up a £5 million Safer Homes Fund to pay for local handy-men to visit the 45,000 homes most in need, including single parent families and older people, to help them avoid becoming victims of burglary.
93 priority areas saw this first tranche of money spent by July. Now an extra £1.5 million has been given to 36 community and voluntary organisations across the country to protect an additional 15,000 extra homes.
Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said: "Nationally burglary has fallen by 54% since 1997 but we know that during economic downturns crimes like this can face upward pressure. The Safer Homes Fund is just one part of our wider strategy to get on the front foot in tackling this issue. That's why I'm delighted to see us helping an extra 15,000 homes belonging to single parent families and older people. None of this would have been possible without the community groups who are out there making thousands of homes more secure and I thank them."
To coincide with the announcement of additional funding, Mr. Campbell visited the East Durham Partnership, one of the 36 groups to receive money in the latest round of grants to see security improvement work being carried out at the home of local resident Bernadette Collins.
Ms. Collins said: "Since being burgled I have been feeling very scared and insecure in my home. Now that I know about the Project I am looking forward to my home being made secure for myself and my children."
East Durham Partnership Chief Executive Ellen Foxton said:
"The Home Office Safer Homes initiative has enabled East Durham Partnership Charity to support local residents by using the expertise available through our apprenticeship scheme. In this great example of Voluntary/Public sector collaboration, young people from the local community are trained in handyperson skills which are then deployed to improve the security of local peoples homes. The service has a twofold benefit in that it introduces much needed security measures as a deterrent against burglaries and in doing so helps to promote young people as positive role models."
To complement the Safer Homes initiative, the Home Office is also taking tough action against offenders through the Vigilance Programme by providing additional resources and support to 35 areas across the country to tackle burglary and robbery as well as cracking down on known offenders.