Leicestersire Police have been out ‘yarn bombing’, putting hundreds of pom-poms and other knitted items onto trees and lampposts to help reduce the fear of crime in Bede Park and Great Central Way.
Criminologist Charlotte Bilby, a senior lecturer in criminology at Northumbria University, believes that making an area look cosier certainly makes an area feel safer, adding that seeing something that makes you smile or makes you think that other people have enjoyed being in that space and have done something funny, is going to change your perception about being in the park.
Reaction to the initiative has been mixed. The police are hopeful that the actions will reduce the fear of becoming a victim of crime, pointing out that the perception is much different to the actual reported levels of crime.
Some people have smiled as they saw the knitted items, one of the objectives, others think it is silly and more lights would be a better idea.
Ms Bilby has stated:
As we all know more officers on the beat doesn’t actually have a massive impact on crime rates in an area.
Not much wrong with that statement, really. Except most people seem to want more policemen on the beat to help prevent crime. And how many criminals carry out their activity in front of an officer of the law compared to those who carry out that activity when no-one is around?
So, will it work, or will it just attract more people to an area so they can be mugged? Albeit with a smile on their face.