Police use Twitter to catch burglars

Police cadets delivering crime prevention advice. Pic: Hackney MPS

Hackney police say their latest anti-burglary campaign, Operation Bumblebee, which makes extensive use of social media and uses young police cadets to spread the message, is paying dividends.

The campaign, launched on February 8, is aimed at reducing the number of burglaries and capturing the criminals behind them, using four strategies: prevention, enforcement, reduction and detection.Hackney MPS, whose Twitter slogan is “we tweet from the streets” say they not only try to reduce burglaries, but also do their best to identify and bring those responsible to justice.

Operation Bumblebee was originally introduced in 1991, The latest phase began in September 2016, its priority being to enhance police efforts to target burglars using social media.

Hackney has the third highest burglary rate in East London, after Tower Hamlets and Croydon, according to Met Police crime figures . Burglaries rose in 2016 by 8.9%, up from 2,496 to 2,717 in Hackney.

In December 2016, the Met ‘s Christmas anti-burglary campaign led to a decrease in crime compared to the same period in 2015 prompting Hackney MPS to continue with their campaign this year, in a bid to reduce crime and capture offenders.

Hackney police at Stoke Newington Police Station. Pic: Hackney MPS

Hackney police promoting anti-burglary campaign at Stoke Newington Police Station. Pic: Hackney MPS

Detective Inspector Paul Ridley told to East London Lines: “We wanted to remind the public to remain vigilant and on guard throughout the year, and do simple things in the house to make sure you are not the next victim.

Using social media and online communication underlined the importance of keeping up with social media trends, which, he said “allows the users to interact easily with us and whilst on the move”.

A dedicated team of Hackney Police officers answer queries and provide advice on their Twitter account, which apart from the Met’s HQ account, has the highest amount of borough followers.

Ridley added: “It is vital that we continue to be relevant whilst at the same time remembering the values that matter to the public. I made the decision to release clips of offenders and burglary suspects my officers didn’t recognise in order to increase the amount of people that we identify and apprehend, which in turn reduces crime.”

A few retweets, he said, can lead to people being identified. People on the move can look at the videos of suspects and a wanted face, and if they later see that person can call and get an immediate response.

Ridley added: “A number of our offenders live in Hackney which is why we have a team of officers who visit the prolific burglars when they are released from prison, often on licence, and when there is information that they have breached their conditions, they will immediately seek to recall them to prison.”

Metropolitan Police reminds residents how simple measures like ‘always lock before you leave’ can deter burglars,as well as making sure lights are switched on, and making sure a door is secure.

Following simple advice like this can help prevent a lot of burglaries.

For more information and advice, visit the Hackney Metropolitan Police website

Follow Jane on Twitter here. @JaneChou1223.

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