Taxi texts to help reduce burglaries in Cardiff and Bridgend as rugby season kicks off

As the nation embraces the Autumn Internationals, a new initiative has been launched to help reduce burglaries in Cardiff and Bridgend.

South Wales Police have teamed up with South Wales’s largest taxi company, Dragon Taxis, to reduce burglaries across the two areas.

Now, when a customer’s taxi driver pulls up outside to pick them up, they receive a text message or app notification reminding them to secure doors and windows before they leave their home.

The initiative – believed to be a first of its kind – has been launched in time for the Autumn Wales rugby internationals, so it is hoped that the timely reminder will reach thousands of customers who are set to use taxis as they head out to enjoy the event.

The new initiative aims to reduce the number of burglaries in Cardiff and Bridgend by simply reducing the number of properties left unsecure, with windows left open or doors unlocked.

Figures show that as many as half of all homes burgled are unattended and have been left unsecure. Burglars, who are often opportunists, will be more tempted by a house that they believe is unsecure as it is an easier target.

South Wales Police Student Liaison officer, Michael Neate, said: “Working with Dragon Taxis can give us access to many hundreds of people throughout Cardiff and the surrounding areas in a single night. If this initiative manages to stop just one burglary, then it would be worth it. Being the victim of a burglary is a traumatic experience which can have a devastating impact on peoples’ lives.”

Customers who book with Dragon Taxis in Cardiff and Bridgend will now receive an automated text message or app notification just as their cab pulls up outside their pick up point, saying: “Wait… Don’t make life easy for burglars. Have you locked up? SWPOLICE’.

Pc Michael Neate, added: “It is an important message delivered at a perfect time, when the customer is invariably rushing to leave the house without thinking about windows and doors – we know it’s often the last thing on somebody’s mind.”

This is the latest safety initiative that the company has undertaken in partnership with South Wales Police. In 2011, Dragon Taxis launched the University Safe Taxi Scheme in which students can book a taxi on account if they have, for example, lost their money or wallet, and drivers claim the fare from the Student Union at a later date.

Ryan Owen, managing director of Dragon Taxis, said: “We transport roughly 100,000 customers in Cardiff and 20,000 customers in Bridgend every week. Whether they have booked through the app or via their mobile, we will be able to send them this important safety message, so you can immediately see the potential benefits of the scheme in terms of the reach it can have.

“We have always been known as the safe taxi company, and are constantly seeking out technology and developments to ensure our customers are safeguarded. This latest initiative with South Wales Police around home security is a natural extension of the University Safe Taxi Scheme.

“If this pilot scheme is successful, we hope we can work with other police forces across the UK to roll it out to the other areas in which we operate.”