CRIME outside shops on a road on an Oxford estate has risen since long-awaited CCTV cameras were switched on two months ago.

Figures released by Thames Valley Police show that since the £26,000 cameras were put in place, the number of reported incidents in Blackbird Leys Road has risen by 33 per cent.

The force said it was too early to see the full benefits of the investment.

Oxford City Council switched on the two 360-degree cameras outside the ‘top shops’ in Blackbird Leys Road, and outside the Spar shop in Dunnock Way, Greater Leys, on December 15.

The installation of cameras had been talked about for more than 20 years as both areas have long been areas where gangs of youths gather.

Blackbird Leys neighbourhood police Sgt Rob Axe said he believed that the cameras would prove their worth during the summer, when more people were out on the streets.

Between November 15 last year and February 11, there were 29 crimes in Blackbird Leys Road compared with 28 during the same period in 2008-9.

Moreover, between December 15 last year, when the cameras were turned on, and February 11, there were 20 reported incidents, compared with 15 the year before.

Early indications show that in Dunnock Way, the cameras have had more impact. Between December 15 last year and February 11, there were eight reported incidents compared with 17 in 2008-9.

Many traders told the Oxford Mail they had noticed fewer troublemakers congregating near their shops since the CCTV was switched on, although some said they had noticed little difference.

In Blackbird Leys Road, Jake Sancar, manager of Brano’s, said: “We’re happy with the cameras. Some people were scared of coming into the shop but I reckon that’s gone now.

“We’ve seen plenty of improvement. We don’t see any more kids hanging around.”

Paul Whitman, of Deltey’s supermarket, said: “No-one has come in since they were put in and said they had to drive away because there was a gang of people outside, so I suppose it has improved things in that sense.”

However, Brian Russell-Gray, manager of Martin’s newsagents, and Lisa Smith, owner of Trimmers hairdressers, had not noticed a difference.

Mr Russell-Gray said: “It might have an impact in the summer, but the trees might block the camera when it grows to full leaf — they need to go if the cameras are going to work properly.”

But Ms Smith added: “I do think the cameras are a good thing.

“I think people feel safer, especially using the cash machines.”

Earlier this month, police revealed that reported crimes had dropped across Blackbird Leys as a whole, from 412 between October and December in 2008 to 331 in the same period last year.

Sgt Axe said the CCTV cameras could have contributed to the fall, although he admitted officers had yet to use the cameras to convict any criminals.

He said: “It’s definitely had an effect on crime in Blackbird Leys and we’re also not getting the reports of antisocial behaviour in Dunnock Way going on.

“There’s hardly any crime happening around the top shops because of the cameras.

“In Gillian’s Park in particular there have been robberies of foreign students in the summer and I’m hoping the fact that the cameras are there will prevent it this year.

“I’m sure it will have an impact in time.”