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Locks and Security News: your weekly locks and security industry newsletter
10th April 2024 Issue no. 700

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Burglars mess with your head not just your home

Police in Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley have been working together in a major cross-county campaign to tackle burglary - the first of its kind.

Officers from each force co-ordinated activities during the three week initiative from 27 October to 16 November 2014, to halt border-hopping offenders and encourage the public to protect themselves from becoming a burglary victim. The result was a reduction in burglary offences.

The campaign was a joint effort in order to deter those offenders who might simply cross county borders to offend once aware of targeted police activity in a particular area.

This year's co-ordinated approach stretched from Margate in the east to Chichester in the west and as far north as Milton Keynes - an area of more than 5,600 square miles and more than six million people.

The dates selected to run the campaign reflect a trend from recent years whereby the south east region has experienced a rise in burglary reports during this period.

A combined total of 2,645 burglaries were reported during those dates in Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Thames Valley in 2012 and 2013, up 3.5 per cent on the three weeks before.

The campaign ran with the strapline 'Burglars mess with your head, not just your home', reminding potential victims that burglary can leave you feeling scared and anxious long after the crime has been committed. Officers worked with partner agencies to reinforce this message, whilst offering specific crime prevention advice to the public.

The result was a drop in the number of offences, with more than 30 people being charged in Kent - compared to the same three week period in 2013, the county saw a reduction of over 60 burglary offences (321 offences committed this year against 384 over the same period last year). Reductions in burglary offences were also reported by Sussex and Surrey Police during the campaign.

Crime prevention messages were communicated to the public through a variety of channels including railway station platform advertising at busy stations and a radio announcement on Heart FM.

Mobile Police Stations were based outside busy areas at electronic goods stores, with Police Community Support Officers handing out crime prevention material and encouraging people to register items on property database, Immobilise - so if they are stolen they can be returned to their rightful owner. More than 100 people registered on www.immobilise.com.

Special Constables and Police Community Support Officers delivered crime prevention leaflets to areas identified by police intelligence as at risk, and officers visited jewellers to advise customers about security marking valuables; pawnbrokers were also spoken to about receiving suspected stolen items.

Superintendent Lee Russell, from the Partnerships and Communities department at Kent Police, said: "This is the first time we've teamed up with three other forces for a sustained campaign, and we are really pleased with the results.

"Comparing the campaign period to the same three weeks last year shows there were 63 fewer offences this year, which is really good news. We've seen lots of people visiting our property marking events and logging valuables, and hopefully residents will continue to sign up to this service. Our work will continue through December in the lead up to Christmas to ensure we continue to relentlessly pursue active criminals. During this operation there have been over 70 arrests for burglary related offences. Already 30 of these people have been charged and remanded in custody or bailed to court. This focused activity will continue to serve our communities by helping to keep the number of burglary victims in Kent to a minimum."

During the campaign Kent Police joined forces with Kent Neighbourhood Watch. More than 7,000 volunteers were passed key information via the Kent Community Messaging Service. The force also provided crime prevention advice to care organisations to pass on during home visits to elderly residents.

3rd December 2014

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