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Spring Bank man launches Facebook page to help fight crime
A Facebook group page that alerts Keighley people to crime in their neighbourhood is back in action after being shut down.
The man responsible for ‘Stop the Thieves in Keighley’, Spring Bank resident Andrew Smith, said the page generated a huge reaction. The re-launched version already has nearly 3,000 members.
The page was removed by Facebook’s administrators on January 14 for breaking the site’s rules, after a few users identified and threatened suspects. The new page invites responses from locals who have been the victims of burglaries, in order to warn other residents of any risk to their homes.
Mr Smith, 29, a painter and decorator who previously lived in Bracken Bank, said: “We’re not a vigilante group.
“I’ve been for a meeting with the police, who are behind what we’re doing, and have been contacted by Neighbourhood Watch.
“A few spoilt the last page, but most followed the rules. Now I’ve given admin status to four people who delete bad threads and stop arguments before they start.”
Mr Smith added: “All we want is to help people and to stop theft. This is to warn residents of what’s happening around them. They can report things on the page so others living nearby can be aware of people prowling.”
He said he also plans to have page members taking part in night patrols alongside the police.
“The police do a fantastic job but there are not many of them and Keighley is a big place to cover,” he said.
“I’ve looked into how this works and there is a citizen patrol project called Street Angels, and another initiative called Street Watch. So this isn’t new – it’s just going to be new to Keighley.”
Inspector Tony Reed, of Keighley Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT), said: “We’ve encouraged the person behind this site to refer people to our websites for professional advice on dealing with reports of burglary or crime prevention.
“People can get involved in the fight against crime in their neighbourhoods by joining an established Neighbourhood Watch scheme, or, where one does not exist, we are happy to help volunteers set one up.
“I would ask anyone who has information about burglary in Keighley or any other types of offending to contact the Keighley NPT on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”