Leeds crime-fighting charity forced to shut – because of fall in crime

CASAC chief executive Neil Goldup with one of the anti-snap locks
CASAC chief executive Neil Goldup with one of the anti-snap locks
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A charity set up to combat burglaries in Leeds has become a victim of its own success after helping to bring about a huge drop in crime rates.

Community Action and Support Against Crime (CASAC) has been forced to fold because demand for its services has fallen so dramatically.

Chief executive Neil Goldup said: “It’s almost the case that we’ve done too much of a good job.

“The demand just isn’t there any more.”

The organisation, which provided home security improvements, was founded more than a decade ago, when Leeds’s burglary figures were among the worst in the country.

The situation was so bad that the authorities were later given a ‘red flag’ by the Audit Commission and ordered to improve.

Based in Meanwood and funded in part by Safer Leeds – a partnership between Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police – CASAC installed anti-snap locks and other security measures in more than 80,000 homes in West Yorkshire, the bulk of which were in Leeds.

In some cases entire streets that had been identified as potential burglary “hotspots” were given security improvements.

Less than 0.01 per cent of homes that had previously been broken into were burgled after being secured by CASAC.

The work carried out has been credited in part for helping to bring about a major reduction in recorded burglaries in Leeds, which fell 61 per cent between 2004 and last year.

Mr Goldup said: “We were part of the process of getting people to see the problems with the old weak door locks. We have to be proud that, from a small office in Meanwood, we helped to bring about change.”

Funding for the charity had been decreasing steadily in recent years before drying up entirely this year.

Despite setting up a trading arm and carrying out some work with North Yorkshire Police it became unable to sustain itself.

CASAC’s workforce had decreased from 30 to eight when it closed.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said work with CASAC had helped bring down burglary and made “a real difference” to victims. She added: “Over the years Safer Leeds has been proactive in developing a range of initiatives that will continue to support victims of burglary and CASAC was one of many projects that it supported.

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