Burglaries of homes in Hackney have fallen by 16.5% over the last year, figures released by Hackney Police this month show.
That places Hackney as the sixth-most improved borough for reducing residential burglary rates in London – an impressive achievement in a borough which only six years ago had the highest burglary rates in London. Detection rates are 19%, which compares favourably with the London-wide Metropolitan Police Authority target of 16%.
Detective Sergeant Phil Pearson, from Hackney Burglary Squad, explained to East London Lines that this reduction was due to “an intelligence-led approach, targeting hotspots and known offenders to ensure we are in the right place at the right time to prevent crimes and arrest criminals” He added that the vast majority of crimes are committed by a small number of prolific burglars and said: “We have been successful in putting many of these behind bars. This is often due to the excellent work done by the forensic investigators, who recover evidence at the scene of break-ins. We have also been targeting the shops and individuals who handle stolen goods, making it as difficult as possible for burglars to sell the items they steal.”
He stressed that information from members of the public remains vital to continue to reduce the incidence of burglary, which is: “A crime that can have a terrible impact on the victims, particularly when items of sentimental value are stolen, and it is very rewarding when we are able to arrest the persons responsible and hand back the property to its rightful owner.”
Theses figures on Hackney’s success in tackling burglaries come as the Metropolitan Police launches a London wide awareness campaign to urge householders to; ‘Lock before you leave‘ to prevent some of more than 5,000 burglaries in London last year committed by thieves simply walking in through an unlocked door.
“The number of burglaries in London is falling, but basic crime prevention measures can reduce it further. 5,199 burglaries occurred last year simply because of unlocked doors,” Metropolitan Police spokesman Alastair Campbell told East London Lines. He explained that burglary rates rise substantially in autumn every year, with thieves taking advantage of the darker afternoons and evenings. For example, in June, July and August last year, there were about 4,900 burglaries a month in London; by November the figure had risen to 5,600.
The new campaign will remind London’s home-owners to lock their doors, with a series of breakfast radio ads, digital displays at key underground connections, direct mail shots to people’s homes and a special awareness campaign aimed at new university students who may be living away from home for the first time.
As Superintendent Martin Rusling, head of the Met’s anti-burglary task force Operation Bumblebee stresses, “Burglary, on the whole, is an opportunist crime and a burglar will look for an easy way to get in that won’t take long or arouse suspicion, so many try the front door first…It’s easy to leave your front door unlocked, especially when you’re in a hurry or distracted. But even if you only do it once, that could be enough to get burgled.”
Alongside the awareness campaign, the Met say they also recognise the need to target known or suspected burglars and that Operation Bumblebee is continuing to investigate and pursue suspects and bring them before the courts. Officers have also been going out to communities to offer crime prevention advice, including awareness roadshows to remind Londoners to remember to lock all doors and windows, even if you are only going out for a few minutes. Residential burglary rates are down 9% on last year for London as a whole. While they have remained virtually static for Lewisham (2,051 in 2010/2,059 in 2009) and Tower Hamlets (1,005 in 2010/995 in 2009), Croydon, like Hackney, has seen a significant reduction of 9.1% in burglary rates over the last year.