All eyes are on Ashington
Dated: 22 Jun 2007
Criminals operating in Ashington town centre are getting that horrible feeling they are being watched - by several pairs of giant eyes.
Northumbria Police has funded six large posters showing staring eyes and the words "We've got our eyes on criminals" which are being put on lamp-posts on Station Road.
The unusual crime deterrent in the town's main shopping street is aimed at making potential crooks feel uncomfortable and shoppers more reassured.
The idea was inspired by a Newcastle University experiment last year which found that people put nearly three times as much money into a unsupervised coffee room cash collection box when they were being watched by a pair of eyes on a poster.
That led to West Midlands Police producing similar posters displaying eyes, which proved effective in cutting crime.
Ashington Neighbourhood Sergeant Andy Reay, who co-ordinated the project, said: " This is the first time such an idea has been tried in the Northumbria force area.
" The scheme has been used elsewhere in the country and led to a drop in crime and we're hoping our posters produce similar results.
" Obviously officers will still be patrolling the area regularly and CCTV is in operation, but Total Policing is all about using various methods to cut crime and the fear of crime. The posters will stay up for two months before we evaluate how successful they have been."
Inspector Gary Stephenson added: " The posters will act as a deterrent for those committing crime and causing disorder in the town centre area. However, they will also reassure our local community at the same time.
" Those who ignore the message will quickly realise that the police are actively patrolling the area in uniform and plain clothes as we continue to take a positive approach to arrest and convict them ."