An innovative approach to tackling Stirling’s problems with crime and antisocial behaviour has been launched by the city’s BID.
Go Forth Stirling has joined forces with Retailers Against Crime (RAC) to give independent traders access to a system which sends real-time alerts when thefts and other crimes are happening in the city.
The crime-fighting scheme also allows business owners to report incidents so they can warn others and create evidence logs to help police detect offences.
Go Forth Stirling Business Improvement District (BID) Project Director Danielle McRorie-Smith implemented the initiative after receiving complaints from Stirling traders about antisocial behaviour in the city.
The BID will cover the costs of RAC membership for independent business owners so they can benefit from a cloud-based intelligence-gathering system to log incidents and receive immediate alerts about situations or individuals to be aware of.
She said: “We’re keen to help our traders with this innovative approach to compiling statistics and information regarding crime and antisocial behaviour in Stirling.
“They can use the system, via a phone or desktop, to immediately log crimes and concerns so fellow shopkeepers are aware of what’s happening nearby and can react accordingly – something which will be of great benefit to all our retailers.
“The system also provides an evidence-gathering tool so the BID can work more effectively and proactively with Police Scotland to fight crime in the city.
“Subsidising the membership cost is a way for us to help tackle the recent increase in antisocial behaviour in Stirling and contribute to the overall sense of safety and security in the city.
“It’s an easy system to use and I hope as many independent business owners as possible will come on board. The more traders who use the reporting system the more effective it will be.”
Kevin Moore, co-owner of the Scottish Gantry and director of Stirling Arcade, has signed up to the scheme which he believes will be an improvement on the usual system of dialling 101 to report crime and incidents of antisocial behaviour.
He said: “Antisocial behaviour is a problem in many major Scottish cities including Stirling.
“But when it comes to reporting incidents, it’s hard to get through to speak to anyone using the 101 system.
“So, crimes tend to go unreported which means the statistics used to determine resources can be then skewed and inaccurate.
“The RAC system will allow shopkeepers within the city centre to keep a log of what’s happening and support information-sharing between businesses.
“I would encourage every independent trader within Stirling to take up this opportunity.”
Ewen Duncan, who runs the Europa Music store in Stirling’s Friars Street, has faced ongoing problems with groups of youths causing trouble near his store.
He recently called for tougher action to clamp down on antisocial behaviour and create a more welcoming atmosphere for shoppers and tourists coming into the city.
Mr Duncan welcomed the BID’s attempt to tackle the issue and plans to sign up to the RAC scheme.
He said: “We’re interested in getting involved and hoping this will help put a spotlight on the problems we face.
“It sounds a good idea because it means we can report problems immediately.”
Retailers Against Crime is a national crime partnership which aims to detect and prevent crime by sharing information on local and travelling offenders with members.
Levy paying – and voluntary levy paying – independent Stirling businesses will become part of the scheme giving them access to various benefits including membership of the RAC’s SentrySIS system to log issues and receive immediate alerts about ongoing situations and individuals of concern.
Stephanie Karté, RAC Area Manager for Scotland, said: “We’re looking forward to working in partnership with Go Forth Stirling and have the perfect platform for the city’s different retailers to report persistent offenders and nuisance offenders.
“This is all about working together and sharing information which is key to preventing and reducing crime.
“It is a great tool which gives shopkeepers real time alerts about what’s happening in the area –for example if someone is acting violently or if there are customers around who are being rude and abusive to staff.
“They in turn can share information and warn others about antisocial behaviour in the city.
“It also means incidents can be recorded and shared via the direct contact and relationships we have with Police Scotland.”
Go Forth Stirling BID was set up in 2017 and currently represents more than 600 local businesses with a key objective of delivering projects and services which improve Stirling’s trading environment to benefit businesses, shoppers and visitors.
The company will go to ballot next Spring in the hope of securing a further five-year term.
A successful renewal ballot will allow the BID to continue delivering initiatives for Stirling’s business community and to fund current projects such as the Street Stories scheme; the Independent Stirling campaign; the delivery of free online training courses plus the provision of digital and shopfront improvement grants.
For more information visit www.goforthstirling.co.uk