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Now traders try 'alert' boxes to beat crime

PUBLISHED: 17:11 06 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:21 05 October 2010

Trader Metin Esen with the 'alert' box to raise the alarm

Trader Metin Esen with the 'alert' box to raise the alarm

SHOPKEEPERS have signed on for alert’ boxes with silent radio links to tackle raiders and thieves in London’s East End. The 50 traders are installing the boxes, about the size of transistor radios, which they can use to warn each other about suspicious characters

SHOPKEEPERS have signed on for 'alert' boxes with silent radio links to tackle raiders and thieves in London's East End.

The 50 traders are installing the boxes, about the size of transistor radios, which they can use to warn each other about suspicious characters.

Each box has a 'warning' button that they hit to call for help or alert neighbouring shops should there be a security threat, such as someone acting suspiciously or in a threatening way.

The box sends a silent signal through a digital wireless network to neighbouring traders along Roman Road in Bow who then take appropriate action.

The system was launched on Wednesday in Roman Road Market by a traders' partnership with Tower Hamlets council.

Florist Leona Rogers, was the first to use the box for real when she summoned fellow retailers who came to her aid.

"I felt so much better when the others came to help," she said. "The 'alert' box makes me feel a whole lot safer. It's like having an invisible police officer in the shop."

The box has already been effective in 17 other areas of London. Now the local authority is hoping the scheme will extend the whole length of Roman Road as far as Bethnal Green two miles away if it can get more Neighbourhood Renewal funding from Whitehall.

Eventually it could spread to other East End shopping precincts such at Whitechapel and Poplar.


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