The Crime Prevention Website

I was doing my usual research into crime news stories this morning when I came across this interesting and somewhat depressing YouTube video highlighting the worst parts of Colchester town centre (Essex, England).  The four minute video was uploaded 5 days ago by town centre resident Terry Earl and so far it’s been viewed around 10,000 times.  The video comprises many still camera shots of mainly empty shops, derelict buildings and several building eyesores with Terry’s comments superimposed.  The local newspaper, the Daily Gazette, followed up on the story and Terry is quoted as saying “I got mad and I got a camera” (love the phrase!). He went on to say “I don’t want to blame anyone for what has happened, I just want to highlight how bad things have got here in Colchester”

TCPW Comment: The vast majority of the feedback on both YouTube and in the Gazette has been supportive of Terry’s pictorial record and I rather suspect that the council are going to feel rather embarrassed by the affair and will no doubt set up a committee.

There are lots of reasons why Colchester’s town centre has deteriorated and the economic downturn will probably be the main reason.  However, Internet shopping, out of town shopping centres, high business rates, high rents, high parking charges, poor decision making by the various players who own the buildings, run the businesses, make the planning decisions and oversee the management of the town will all have contributed to the poor state of affairs in Colchester and many other towns and cities across the UK for that matter.

My interest in the video stems from the fact that run down areas often attract crime and anti-social behaviour, which feeds a sort of neighbourhood deterioration spiral, which if not checked just carries on getting worse.  I don’t know how bad Colchester town centre has become (it’s been a while since I last visited), but in the absence of any other evidence I'm with Terry and his numerous supporters.

Terry’s video, which exemplifies the importance of the image, also reminds me of something I wrote about yesterday – Crime Opportunity Profiling of Streets (COPS), which is my street auditing process that identifies the building features and sometimes the street furniture (phone boxes, bus shelters, telephone cabinets etc) which helps and encourages thieving and robbery, drug taking, street drinking, other anti-social acts and all manner of other crime.  I’m currently writing a whole new section on the subject for this website so watch this space. 

So, I think that Terry’s action should be applauded and maybe we’ll see a lot more of these ‘damning indictment’ videos being posted over the next few weeks – the power of the internet – marvellous!

Well done Terry for speaking up!

YouTube ‘Tour of Colchester’

Daily Gazette 'Grot spot' video tour attracts thousands of YouTube views:

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