Tired of crime and antisocial behavior on his estate, a former bouncer has begun conducting his own security patrols to tackle the problem head-on.
Jonny Wilkinson said crime at the St James Village estate in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear has gotten worse over the years.
He claims that burglaries, thefts and car break-ins are becoming almost daily for residents.
The personal trainer said the final straw was when vandals caused £1,000 worth of damage to his car, causing him to cover his house with CCTV cameras.
Mr Wilkinson, 46, said: ‘Everyone is just fed up. I have been targeted and suffered £1,000 worth of damage to my car. Crime on the estate has risen sharply in recent years.
Former bouncer Jonny Wilkinson, 46, set up his own security patrols after spotting crime at the St James Village estate in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, getting worse over the years
“It’s very bad and I want to fix this. I’ve had enough and many residents are sick.
‘Every other day there is someone who says:’ [something like]: ‘Can someone check their CCTV, my bike has been stolen?’ It’s just a constant thing.’
But now Jonny, who has a SIA door badge, goes one step further by conducting his own security patrols on the estate every night in an effort to deter “opportunists.”
He offers his services to residents who have joined a WhatsApp group with their addresses so that he can keep an eye on their homes and be notified of any incidents.
Jonny said: ‘I have a security background and I go out at night and go around the estate on my electric bike to see if anything is up and to try and be a deterrent.
“I go out at about 3 a.m. and stay out for about an hour. I can whiz through the entire estate in three minutes.’
Now Mr Wilkinson, who has a SIA door badge, is taking it a step further by conducting his own security patrols on the estate every night in an effort to deter ‘opportunists’.
The service he offers is currently free, but he plans to roll in a monthly fee of £10 per house and £5 per apartment when more members join.
He hopes this will allow him to specifically monitor the homes of those who paid for the plan and also hire staff on a rotating system of nighttime patrols.
Jonny said: “They can contact me directly via WhatsApp and report any concerns or see any suspicious behaviour.
“If it grows, we can put in another guard so we can cover more of the area.
“I’m going to be contacting the police all the time. Police officers have been designated for this area, but they don’t have the manpower to come by all the time.
“If all goes well, we can patrol other private estates. Things like this will be needed in the future. It’s something that’s big in America.”
Northumbria Police urged residents to report antisocial behavior and other criminal matters to the police.
An armed forces spokeswoman said: “As a force, we are committed to tackling crime and antisocial behavior and bringing effective justice to those involved.
Mr Wilkinson said: ‘If all goes well, we can patrol other private estates. This is the kind of thing that will be needed in the future’
“That’s why we conduct dedicated operations and initiatives throughout the year to tackle disorder, identify perpetrators and ultimately keep our communities safe.
“We would always encourage anyone affected by anti-social behavior and other criminal matters to report it directly to us so that we can properly address any concerns and take appropriate action.
“In addition to our normal reporting methods, we also encourage residents to engage with agents through community gatherings in their area and digital channels such as online reporting forms and Northumbria Connected.
“Please know that your information is vital and if you report an issue to us, we will do everything we can to address it with our partners.
‘If you see anything suspicious in your area, always report it to the police via the ‘Tell us something’ page on our website or by calling 101. In an emergency or if a crime is committed, always call 999. ‘