POLICE and council leaders are joining forces to tackle criminal damage in Vale Royal.
The Crackdown on Criminal Damage campaign will see persistent offenders targeted and action taken against those who fail to heed warnings about their behaviour.
Police in Northwich and Winsford are leading the campaign to meet national targets which state the Vale Royal Community Safety Partnership must cut crime figures by 15% by 2008.
In Vale Royal, criminal damage - which includes damage to vehicles, homes and other buildings and public amenities - accounts for around 45% of all crimes, meaning any reduction will be a significant step towards meeting the target.
Analysis of the problem throughout the area has already taken place and repeat offenders, victims and hot spots identified.
Police will be particularly targeting the Witton and Castle wards of Northwich and Winsford's Dene, Wharton and Verdin areas.
DCI Andy Southcott, crime manager for the Western Area, said: 'Although criminal damage is a problem which is often seen as pretty minor when compared to crimes such as robbery and arson, it has a real detrimental impact on a community.
'Smashed windows, graffiti, deliberate damage to cars, all have a knock-on effect.
'This campaign is all about letting the culprits know we won't tolerate their behaviour and if they choose to commit criminal damage both the police and partnership agencies will do everything in their power to bring them to justice.'
Measures including high-visibility patrols, support for repeat victims of criminal damage, undercover observations to identify culprits and increased security measures.
The campaign is being funded by police and the Vale Royal Community Safety Partnership, which includes Cheshire County and Vale Royal Borough councils, Weaver Vale Housing Trust and Cheshire Fire Service.
Borough council community safety officer John Roberts said: 'Each agency has different tools at its disposal when it comes to dealing with criminal damage. 'Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, eviction notices, penalties for breaching tenancy agreements and criminal proceedings are just a few of the options on the table and I'm confident communities affected by criminal damage and offenders who commit offences
will soon start to feel the impact of our work.'
Judith Burbidge, WVHT's Winsford area housing manager, added: 'We realise that the neighbourhood you live in is just as important as your home and we are committed to developing safe and secure neighbourhoods.'