Animated about safety

16th July 2007

Mrs Rivers is clued up on safety - "If I stop for a coffee I keep my bag where I can see or feel it at all times. I make sure that it's on my lap or touching my feet, not hung on the back of my chair or on the floor where it could be stolen."

It's sound advice from a Three Rivers grandmother, but all the more impressive when you discover that Mrs Rivers is, in fact, a cartoon character.

It's all part of the latest initiative from the Three Rivers Community Safety Partnership to provide practical advice to residents in a fresh way. The leaflet, Meet the Rivers, featuring a family of characters spanning the generations, will be hitting every home in the district by the end of August.

Police Crime Prevention Officer, Gary Sibson, says:

"The risk in talking about crime prevention is that people then become worried. Three Rivers actually has the lowest crime rate in Hertfordshire and there is no need for anyone to feel alarmed. The aim of the cartoon leaflet is to keep the safety messages interesting and relevant, but with a light touch - we want to alleviate anxiety, not generate it."

Gary Sibson also believes that the cartoon theme will speak to younger adults and teenagers, a group normally hard to reach with safety messages. It's an approach that has received strong backing from District Council Leader, Ann Shaw:

"As the Council's youth champion I talk to a lot of young people. They are actually just as concerned about safety and anti-social behaviour as older people but they are often seen, quite unfairly, to be the potential troublemakers. We really need to get these messages through to all ages in a practical way that is reassuring and doesn't demonise unfairly any particular group in the community. I believe Meet the Rivers will help to achieve that and I hope residents will tell us whether we have succeeded."

The Three Rivers Community Safety Partnership provides a range of safety leaflets, including one produced by pensioners in Three Rivers and another by teenagers in Three Rivers. For more information, residents can ring 0845 33 00 222.