As the clocks go back and the nights draw in, the Met has intensified its efforts to crack down on burglary and those who handle stolen goods. But they are also alerting the public to activities of burglars that tend to be on the increase during the winter months when it is darker for longer hours even when it is still daytime.
Homes remaining in darkness for longer in the evenings highlight the fact they may be empty, making them more attractive to burglars at this time of year.
Specialist teams will be deployed to track down wanted burglary suspects, whilst high visibility patrols will take place in burglary hotspot areas.
Officers will also be targeting organised criminal groups who continue to prey on the elderly and vulnerable by pretending to be officials to gain access to their homes.
Superintendent Sean Wilson, the Met’s operational lead for burglary said: “Burglary remains an important issue for the Met due to its devastating impact on victims.
“All burglaries will have an initial investigation and the level of further investigation will depend upon the realistic chances of identifying a suspect.
“I would ask Londoners to take simple measures to protect their homes. Follow our three Step Protect advice by protecting your property both inside and out.
“Forensic officers are sent to burglary scenes where there are forensic opportunities so it’s important for victims to take steps to preserve evidence by calling police as soon as possible and ensuring that until officers arrive, the scene is – where possible – left undisturbed. This will improve our chances of identifying suspects.
“We have enhanced our service in many ways, including through ‘super cocooning’ to support victims, using key messages through local communication networks to alert residents to potential offenders in their neighbourhoods. Officers are also continuing to distribute MetTrace property marking kits in burglary hotspot areas and they are working in partnership with the local authorities to prevent habitual known offenders from reoffending.
“We are also working with other forces from across the country in a coordinated effort so that burglars will have nowhere to hide. By also targeting people who handle stolen goods, we are sending a clear message that anyone who benefits from burglary is implicated in a serious crime.”
Over the past 32 months, the Met has been rolling out MetTrace kits to residents to help make their homes more secure.
The kits contain crime prevention advice and free SmartWater forensic marking equipment. Since the roll-out there has been a 25.3 per cent reduction in burglaries in MetTrace areas compared to 2.5 per cent in non-MetTrace areas – equating to 3,957 few burglaries in these areas.
The kits have been delivered to over 287,000 residents and 14,000 MetTrace signs have been put up across London.
A further 108,750 MetTrace kits will be delivered to residents over the next ten months.
In the current rolling 12 month period, there have been 73,851 burglary offences compared to 69,204 offences in the previous year, representing a 6.7 per cent increase.
Londoners are also encouraged to protect themselves and their homes particularly during the winter months.
The Met’s Be Safe crime prevention campaign aims to motivate, empower and mobilise Londoners to take simple crime prevention steps to reduce their vulnerability to crime, whilst officers continue to disrupt and arrest criminals.
The Met suggests the following 3 Step Protect to keep your home safe :
Protect: Valuables, Building, Outside.
Consider all three areas to protect your home from burglary.
1. Protect your valuables
– Don’t advertise your goods. Always keep valuables like tablets and laptops out of sight from windows and store keys away from the letterbox.
– Help police identify your property if stolen by using a property marking kit and taking photos. The MPS is currently providing SmartWater kits as part of the MetTrace operation visit www.met.police.uk/mettrace for more information.
– Consider buying a safe or using other safe storage providers.
2. Safeguard your building
– Lock all windows and double lock doors when you go out, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
– Make your home look occupied: use timer lights when the nights get longer, and cancel deliveries if you’re going away.
– Make sure your locks are strong enough to keep burglars out.
3. Secure your outside
– Keep gates, sheds and garages locked and don’t leave tools lying around as they can be used to break in.
– Keep hedges at the front low and install outdoor lighting, so burglars have nowhere to hide.
– Install trellises and spiky plants to stop burglars from climbing over fences.
For more advice on how to keep your home safe, visit www.met.police.uk/burglary.
+ Super cocooning works by encouraging residents to be extra vigilant and security conscious. Safer Neighbourhoods teams pay a home visit to victims and their neighbours as soon as possible after an offence is reported, to give crime prevention advice and gather local intelligence, whilst patrols are stepped up in the area.