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Oiling the squeak of burglary
September 18, 2012, 8:42 am
The operation, which started three weeks ago, follows a successful reduction in house burglary over the last 12 months which has seen 1,400 fewer reported crimes.
Extensive research by the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science has revealed burglary victims are not the only target for becoming a repeat victim.
It shows that direct neighbours and the neighbours of neighbours are also vulnerable, especially within a two week period after a burglary has taken place.
Officers are now visiting burglary victims within 24 hours to ‘target harden’ the property checking for weaknesses which would allow offenders to easily get in such as inadequate locks on doors or windows.
Locks, alarms, timers and fake TV devices are supplied to the homeowner in a bid to prevent a further attack on their home. The higher the vulnerability the more equipment will be provided.
Police then visit their immediate neighbours and inform them about how burglars got in to their neighbour’s home. They are given advice and, if their house is vulnerable, then they too are given target hardening gadgets.
The next step is for the neighbour’s neighbour to then be visited and occupants given advice on how to prevent themselves from becoming a victim.
The experiment is being trialled across half of Birmingham until next summer. This allows us to understand whether the tax payer is getting value for money and if the tactic is effective or not. This is very similar to a medical trial and if it works, it will be extended to other areas of the force.
The second phase of the experiment will examine the routes that burglars take around the street network. Research has shown that there is a strong relationship between different types of streets and burglary rates. This knowledge allows the police to concentrate on some street segments and not others.
Superintendent Alex Murray, who is leading the Predictive Policing experiment, said: “The experiment this is about putting the oil where the squeak is by that I mean we hope to reduce the number of burglaries and the number of repeat victims by working smarter and putting our officers exactly where they are needed.
“We never underestimate the impact that a burglary has on the victim and this tactic will hopefully predict where the next burglary is going to take place allowing us to prevent it before it happens.”
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