Burglary: Met Police gives advice to protect your home
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A Daily Express investigation revealed there were more than 400,000 break-ins last year – despite lockdowns meaning more people were at home. In the 12 months to March last year, the number of burglaries that went unsolved stood at 82 percent. Figures also show almost one million domestic burglaries have gone unsolved in the past five years.
Glen Smyth, ex-chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, yesterday criticised the current approach to burglary and the interviewing of victims over the phone.
He said: “People are being let down. It is a policy that will be regarded as an abject failure. If you visit the victims of burglary you will see the distress it has caused them. In a way, you share their pain.
“That is a massive motivating factor to catch burglars. Unless everyone gets a visit you never really know what someone has seen, something vital that could help identify the burglar.”
Former Met Police Commander John O’Connor said the usual police response to burglary now is to issue a crime number to victims so they can claim on insurance. He said: “It’s shocking. A damning indictment of the police.”
Mick Neville, a former detective chief inspector, said: “Burglary of someone’s home is not just theft – it is a violation. Women, especially, feel less safe if their home has been broken into.”
Police forces have been accused of abandoning scores of victims, despite the massive impact of burglaries. Campaigners are calling on ministers to boost resources to tackle the problem.
Rachel Almeida, of the charity Victim Support, said: “The unfortunate truth is, burglary is still a common crime and too many people across the country are being impacted.”
Chris Rowley, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for burglary, insisted it is still a top priority despite the huge number of unsolved break-ins.
Mr Rowley said: “Police officers know how distressing a burglary is for victims and are totally committed to tackling these crimes. Officers will always endeavour to investigate and are disappointed when we can’t bring offenders to justice.
“Unfortunately in some burglaries, where there is a lack of evidence and forensics, there is not a realistic chance of catching the suspect.
“How officers make contact with a victim is considered on a case-by-case basis and on a force-by-force deployment policy.”
He added: “Homeowners can still do a lot to reduce the risk of crime. Simple measures can be the most effective way to prevent burglary.”
Average raid costs £2,500
The average cost of replacing goods snatched by thieves is thought to be between £2,000 and £3,000.
Most break-ins are committed by drug addicts. Items that are easily carried like jewellery, watches, phones and computer devices can be sold quickly, with handlers paying a fraction of the retail value.
But the sentimental value of some goods, such as jewellery, makes items priceless while victims’ peace of mind is shattered.
The UK’s biggest domestic burglary was a £25million heist at the home of Formula One heiress Tamara Ecclestone in 2019.
Desperate shop owner resorts to razor wire
By Paul Jeeves
An irate businessman has taken to installing razor wire in his shop at night to deter burglars.
Parvez Akhtar says Cleveland Police have repeatedly failed to respond to repeated break-ins at his Middlesbrough mobile phone outlet.
Mr Akhtar, who claims he has been broken into five times in three years, said he “doesn’t know what to do”.
He said: “I have complained to the police, everything, and nobody has come even for a fingerprint. My insurance won’t cover me – I have lost so much money every year.”
The businessman said “nearly every single shop” in his vicinity, including a pizzeria and bakery, are also regular targets for criminals.
He said they feel helpless without better police support.
My family can’t sleep since gang broke into our home
By Jan Disley
Mother-of-six Donna Farmer says she hasn’t slept since burglars broke into her home and stole her Motability car and her eight-year-old daughter’s £1,500 wheelchair.
The gang smashed their way into her house in Great Glen, Leics, last month, grabbed the keys and made their getaway with the chair in the boot.
Donna, 43, who has multiple sclerosis, said: “None of us have slept since it happened. We’ve changed the house locks but keep waking up and checking. I’ve also got a panic alarm.”
She said Daisy, pictured with Donna, would miss out on trips because she can’t get around without her specially made Convaid Cruiser. A GoFundMe page has been set up to buy a new one. Search for help-daisy-get-her-wheelchair.
Comment by Rachel Almeida
Home should be where we feel most safe. It’s a place to call our own, a space for ourselves, our loved ones and our possessions.
A burglary is an invasion of that place, and the impact goes beyond the financial losses.
For some, it could mean the loss of treasured belongings and memories that can never be replaced. Losing these sentimental and personal items can be deeply upsetting.
For many it is more than just physical items that are stolen, but also their sense of safety and security.
Even if nothing has been taken, just knowing that a stranger has been in your home can be distressing and frightening.
Even during the pandemic, when many were at home and there were fewer opportunities for burglars, we reached out to over 35,000 people who had experienced a break-in.
That’s why it’s important that people know they are not alone following a burglary.
Support services such as Victim Support can help people to cope with the effects of burglary and work out the next steps together with you.
They can give practical support with dealing with insurance, filling out forms and contacting the police. They’ll also help you to get advice about fixing locks and strengthening home security.
People can also access the free online resource My Support Space which has a range of tools to help people cope and recover.
It’s also why burglary is a crime that must be taken seriously by the police and by the Government. We know that the police are having to deal with a number of different crimes, including many that are new and complex.
But burglary victims must not be left behind. It is a crime that must be taken seriously, so people receive the support and respect that they deserve and know action is being taken to make their homes safe.
Rachel Almeida is Assistant Director at Victim Support
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