Thousands join Burnley group launched to help crackdown on crime

A group, launched on social media to warn residents about crime in the area where they live, has taken off successfully in Burnley
A group, launched on social media to warn residents about crime in the area where they live, has taken off successfully in Burnley
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A group, set up to help victims of crime in Burnley, has attracted over 12,000 members  since it was launched on social media in November.

Unite Against Crime in Burnley and surrounding areas was formed as a tool to warn the public about burglaries, break-ins and other incidents of crime happening across the area.

Since its launch 12,037 people have joined the group and there has been hundreds of posts about thefts, assaults and burglaries across the borough.

Several members have posted devastating photographs of their burgled homes and the site, which is the modern day equivalent of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme, also has CCTV footage of suspected thieves and intruders for people to be aware of.

Shelly Heap, who is one of the founders, said the main focus of the group was to help people.

She said: "It was soul destroying to see friends being robbed left, right and centre so we decided to set up the group.

"We are only trying to help others, we aren't here as police, judge or jury, we are just normal families ourselves."

The tagline of Unite Against Crime is "maybe we can stop some of what is going on by taking a stand together."

The group has been praised for highlighting the level of crime in Burnley and also making residents more aware of protecting their homes and belongings by taking simple measures such as making sure doors and windows are secure.

Administrators of the group swiftly remove anyone who makes comments about attacking intruders or dishing out their own form of justice.

Several members have praised the group for creating "real community spirit" and one member said that as the group was highlighting the level of crime and attempted crime in this area this may draw the authorities' attention to it and provide "constructive solutions."

Another member said the group was using the power of social media in "the correct way" and many who had been victims of crime said the group had been a "lifeline'" to them, providing support and help from fellow members.

A business owner said the group had helped her to find a witness to vandalism at her premises and there have been other reports that some people have had stolen belongings returned to them, thanks to the power of the group.

Several members have said the group had been a great source of help and advice, especially over the Christmas period when crime tends to spike.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We would urge anybody who has been a victim of a crime to report it on 101, or in an emergency to contact us on 999.

"Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.”