Commitment to attend all burglary reports in Hampshire homes starts to pay dividends.
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In September 2022 Acting Chief Constable Ben Snuggs made a commitment that Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary would attend every single dwelling burglary report that we received.
In the last two months we have already seen the number of charges we have achieved for residential burglary double compared to recent monthly averages as we make the very most of the forensic opportunities available to us through our attendance. In October and November we secured 22 charges relating to residential burglaries, with many more investigations underway. Since 1 April 2022 we have already seen 112 burglary investigations result in formal action, such as charges, being taken.
Burglary reports across Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight have increased in recent months, which is line with annual trends as the clocks change and evenings grow darker earlier. However the number of burglary reports is still significantly fewer than the levels recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic. Between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2019 we received 4,127 reports. That compares to 3,010 reports received between 1 September 2021 and 31 August 2022. Since 1 April 2022 we have received just over 2,100 reports of dwelling burglary.
We have also seen a number of positive burglary-related court results in recent months. These have included a 31 year-old man from Southampton who was jailed for sixteen months in October after he had broken into a flat on West End Road in August, he was the first person in Hampshire to be jailed as part of a Ministry of Justice GPS tracker scheme. A 53 year-old man was jailed in November for two years and four months for a string of offences in Portsmouth, Waterlooville, and Havant including a burglary at a house on Cosham Park Avenue. A 52 year-old man from Southampton was jailed for four and a half years after admitting three counts of dwelling burglary and one count of attempted dwelling burglary with intent to steal.
Acting Chief Constable Ben Snuggs said: “In recent weeks we have seen around 75 dwelling burglaries reported to us each week across Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight. Every single one of these burglaries can cause significant distress to victims, which is why I made a commitment earlier this year to attend every residential burglary report we received. In the past, officers have physically been deployed when a crime was in progress and all reports underwent a rigorous assessment of threat, harm and risk. Burglary is a priority. By attending every report we will maximise the forensic potential available so we catch more offenders. I am really pleased that this is already being reflected in the number of charges we are achieving for residential dwelling burglary investigations. In a small number of cases it may be impractical for us to attend due to the length of time since the offence took place, or for example if the victim has a specific reason as to why they do not wish for us to attend because they would prefer instead to speak to officers at a police station. I am pleased to report that since we made our attendance commitment in September we have deployed officers to 98% of all dwelling burglary reports received.
“Over the course of this year we have delivered a range of initiatives across Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight to increase the number of offenders who are identified and brought to justice. This is being coordinated by a central burglary improvement group – ensuring all the right specialists are involved to turn things around. We are determined that every dwelling burglary should be responded to effectively and every opportunity used to identify who is responsible. I am confident that our commitment around burglary attendance is improving that picture.
“Every deployment is an opportunity to capture evidence, identify lines of enquiry and capture offenders and increase the number of cases in which formal action is taken. Through this I am clear that we also improve public confidence and help victims feel safer in their homes, which is a cornerstone of victim-focused policing. We recognise that while the number of residential burglary offences each day may be small, they can in some cases be linked to other forms of criminality, such as drug supply or organised crime. By attending all residential dwelling burglary reports, we are sending a very clear message that we will not tolerate these crimes. We want to give ourselves the very best opportunity to disrupt and deter crime, and catch those criminals who are responsible”.
We’re working hard this Christmas to prevent, detect, and solve burglaries. We’d also like to take this opportunity to remind our communities of the following crime prevention advice.
Before you go out, double-check that your home is secure and that all windows and doors are properly locked and secure with keys out of sight.
Wherever possible park in a secure car park or in a well-lit spot and make sure that your vehicle is locked.
Avoid leaving your purchases and presents or other valuables on display in your vehicle whilst out shopping or outside your home.
Consider crime prevention when buying gifts, for example does a bike come with a secure ‘D’ lock?
Don’t advertise your gifts to burglars and leave presents in view of a window.
Register valuable gifts for free at immobilise.com.
Think about how you dispose of packaging for expensive goods and don’t leave it on display outside of your property.
Make your home look occupied wherever possible. Closing curtains and using timer switches for things like lights or a radio can help to deter opportunistic burglars as it gets darker earlier in the evening.
Double check that any devices like alarms, security lighting, or video doorbells are in good working order.
Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your home if you are away visiting family or friends. Make sure you cancel deliveries like milk and that parcels won’t be delivered outside your front door while you are away.