A new push on tackling burglary is underway with Bedfordshire Police in a bid to demonstrate its commitment to protect people.
The force launched Operation Fidelity to coincide with the clocks going back over the weekend - traditionally its busiest time for domestic break-ins.
Though burglary in people’s homes is already down by more than a quarter (26.4 per cent) this financial year to date, compared with the same period in 2014, communities will now benefit from a more cohesive, forcewide approach to dealing with offences.
The police said they will be identifying long-term hotspots, short-term spikes and key offending patterns, which will involve a variety of overt and covert tactics and inputs from across the force, from intelligence to community patrols.
Detective Chief Inspector Juliette Everett said: “It’s not enough for us to say that burglary has gone down by a quarter over the last year – we are about to enter the winter season in which burglary often becomes more prevalent and we owe it to potential and repeat victims to improve the way our work on this crime is managed and evaluated.
“Burglary is hugely distressing for anyone affected, and our aim is to crack down on those committing these crimes and bring them to justice. Our message to burglars is that they should watch their backs, because we are coming for them.”
Operation Fidelity follows a structured plan with dedicated leads for four main strands: Prepare, Protect, Prevent and Pursue.
Protection and prevention work will be targeted in areas identified as vulnerable, while prepare and pursue efforts will focus on identifying possible offenders, improving their curfew compliance and encouraging voluntary tag uptake.
Improvements will also be made across the force to increase the forensic data obtained from detainees in custody, for example footwear impressions, to link offenders to burglaries committed around the county.
Officers will be working with residents, partners, local authorities and community volunteer schemes including Neighbourhood Watch, who will all have vital roles to play in helping bring down burglary in Bedfordshire.
Clocks go back – don’t advertise your home to burglars!
Bedfordshire Police’s top tips to protect your home as the nights draw in:
1. Use your lights at home – keep them on a timer when you are out so it looks like someone is home
2. Make sure all doors on your house and vehicle are securely locked at all times. If you have a UPVC door at home, make sure it is double locked
3. Keep all valuables and keys safely out of sight from windows, both in your home and car
4. Never leave garages or sheds unlocked – not only can valuable tools be appealing to thieves, they can also be used to force entry to your home
5. Don’t hide your keys under a doormat or in a flowerpot – it’s the first place a would-be offender will look
6. Ask a friend to keep an eye on your house when you go away, and do the same for neighbours by remaining alert to suspicious activity in your street
8. If you spot someone behaving suspiciously, contact police immediately
9.Don’t forget to security mark your property and register it on www.immobilise.com
Bedfordshire Police takes all reports of crime seriously. Call 101 to report an incident, or 999 if a crime is in progress.
You can also give information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
To join or contact your local Neighbourhood Watch team, visit www.ourwatch.org.uk