A city centre crackdown aimed at protecting shoppers and businesses in Sunderland has provided instant results.
Last month, police launched Operation Jasper as part of an ambition to target regular offenders and create a safe city centre environment in the countdown to Christmas.
Working in partnership with Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) and The Bridges, officers have had an increased presence within the city centre during the day and at night to deter criminals and offer reassurance to residents and businesses.
As a result, police have seen a 56% decrease in reported OTD burglaries in the city centre area, which includes primarily commercial premises, over the last four weeks since the operation began.
Police are now eager to keep the momentum going as Jasper leads straight into Operation Kraken, which was successfully launched last year to tackle anti-social behaviour and all city centre-related crime in the lead-up to Christmas.
Sergeant Maria Ord, of Northumbria Police, said: “I am delighted with the success of Operation Jasper and the positive results we have seen is down to the hard work of all teams involved and the close relationship we continue to enjoy with our partners throughout the city.
“Over the last month, we have arrested a number of individuals in the city centre for a wide range of offences, as well as issuing dispersal notices and community resolution orders.
“Our aim is to ensure shoppers and families who come into the city centre enjoy a hassle-free, safe environment, while also making sure our businesses remain safe and secure.
“Now, as we launch straight into our annual Christmas campaign Operation Kraken, we will be looking to build on the positive results of the last few weeks.
“Our zero-tolerance approach to offenders is only possible if we work as a team. As a result, we look forward to working alongside Sunderland BID and the Bridges and Sunderland City Council during the countdown to Christmas, all of whom provide vital support in keeping our city centre safe.
“Our message is clear; anyone looking to engage in criminality or anti-social behaviour will not be welcomed to our city centre, and will be dealt with swiftly and robustly.”
Andy Bradley, Centre Director at The Bridges, hopes to build on the recent success over the coming weeks.
He said: “Working in partnership with Northumbria Police and the BID is very important at The Bridges and successful initiatives like Operation Jasper and Operation Kraken confirm what we can achieve when we work together.
“It’s great news that Operation Jasper has been such a success and we have every reason to believe Operation Kraken will also achieve good results.
“And of course, the best news of all is it means the city centre is a safe and secure place to be in run-up to the festive season.”
Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland BID, added: “After the success of Operation Jasper, the BID is delighted to partner once again with The Bridges, Shopwatch and the police on Operation Kraken to continue our commitment to make Sunderland city centre a positive environment at what is the busiest time of year.
"We recognise that people are heading to the centre for their Christmas shopping but also to enjoy the ice rink and all the bars and restaurants, so it's vital that we all work together to ensure that everyone has a fantastic experience."
Anyone with concerns about crime or disorder should contact their local neighbourhood policing team on 101.