A new community warden scheme in a village once blighted by anti-social behaviour has dramatically improved the quality of life, residents said.
The initiative in Crumlin, Co Antrim, has been in operation since January and has resulted in a drop in low-level crime such as vandalism, under-age drinking and criminal damage.
A core team of highly trained wardens has been out on high-visibility foot patrols in an effort to deter anti-social elements. They also use state-of-the art technology to gather information, identify potential problems and provide detailed reports or make referrals to partner agencies including the PSNI and council.
One elderly resident, who has lived in Crumlin for almost 80 years, said people felt they had regained control.
"Residents now feel safe to travel into the main street at night to do some shopping knowing that the wardens are on the ground. After nearly 80 years in the area, I feel that we've finally got our street back," he said.
PSNI Inspector James Nesbitt said police officers and wardens worked together to combat crime.
"The key to the success of this scheme has been the close partnerships forged between local police, the wardens and our residents. By working together we have been able to combine our knowledge and experience and use it to address issues and concerns identified by local people such as low level anti-social behaviour," he said.
The warden scheme is run by Mercury Security which operates similar initiatives in Ballymena town centre.
DUP MLA Trevor Clarke, chairman of the Antrim policing and community safety partnership, praised those involved. "I am delighted that the community safety warden scheme is being so warmly welcomed by the community in Crumlin.
"Antrim PCSP wanted to implement a warden scheme that was embedded in the community and which effectively deals with the community safety issues directly affecting the residents of Crumlin," he said.