Pom-poms used to prevent crime in Leicester

US knitters reminded they can carry needles on planes

Knitted pom-poms are being used to prevent crime in Leicester, with police turning to yarn bombing to put locals at ease.

Hundreds of pom-poms and knitted items are being strung from trees and lampposts in Bede Park and Great Central Way to encourage more people to use the passages.

Currently, there is a perception that the areas are prone to crime and fear is preventing many from venturing down the streets.

It is hoped that by making Bede Park and Great Central Way appear cosier, locals will view them differently and have the confidence to use the streets again.

However, some of the users of Bede Park told BBC Radio Leicester that the knitted paraphernalia does not make them feel safer.

This being said, they are adding a touch of happiness to the streets, with one person stating: "I wouldn't say safer but it definitely makes me smile every morning. When it's dark you can't see them. It's not like they are lights. That's what this needs if it wants to stop crime; better lighting, not things to make it look brighter."

There is undoubtedly scepticism over how knitting can stop crime, but with woolly creations helping to raise money for charity and even promote peace, their power should perhaps not be underestimated.

Sergeant Simon Barnes from the Leicester police explained to the BBC that the pom-poms should help to change things, as the perception of crime in these areas is much higher than actual reported levels.

Leicester police aren't the first force in the world to become fans of knitting. In Canada, constable Rob Gardner has joined kids from Twin Rivers Elementary School, Castlegar to learn how craft initiatives can help improve community cohesion.

Gardener claims that he stumbled across the knitting group by accident on his routine rounds and is now grateful to have been taught a new skill.

"I have to go back now, because I only have ten rows done - apparently, I've got lots more to do," he said.

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