We are urging residents to ensure their homes are as secure as possible this winter through our latest crime prevention campaign, with figures showing that burglary rates rise significantly as the nights draw in.
Be Sure You’re Secure aims to provide residents, drivers and couriers with safety advice on how to keep their home, vehicles and belongings secure in the run up to Christmas.
Between November and February, we traditionally see a rise in residential burglaries across our force area with a spike in December.
The extra hours of darkness combined with people being out at festive events makes it easier for thieves to break in. Christmas gifts stored inside homes in the run up to the big day are also an attractive proposition for criminals.
Force burglary lead, Detective Chief Inspector, Adam Yates, explains: “Preventing burglaries and bringing offenders to justice is a top priority for us. However, we have historically seen an increase in reports during winter, and particularly in December.
“Our focus is on catching and convicting offenders whilst encouraging people to take crime prevention steps to keep their homes and loved ones safe.
“The impact of residential burglary is not just financial. It can have a significant and long-lasting effect on a victim’s mental health and wellbeing.
“So please remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to us; from strangers being seen frequently on doorbell footage or CCTV, to vehicles you don’t recognise driving up and down roads repeatedly.”
We continue to work hard to tackle burglary throughout the year.
In June we received a call from a homeowner reporting that his property in Stafford had been broken into overnight as he slept upstairs with his partner.
The intruder gained access to the home by breaking a window next to the back door and climbing into the address. Items stolen included three guitars and two amplifiers.
Forensic experts and local police officers attended the scene that morning. Following house-to-house enquiries and a trawl of local CCTV, a suspect was identified and arrested the day after the offence. The stolen property was also recovered.
They pleaded guilty to burglary dwelling and theft on Thursday 8 June at North Staffordshire Justice Centre and were sentenced to 20 weeks in prison.
The homeowner, a man in his 30s, said: “When I called I was still in total shock really but everyone from the police was really good. The main thing for us was that we got the property back. One of the guitars had great sentimental value as it was a gift from my father.
“It’s not just about money. My partner was very shaken up and upset. The kids weren’t in the house at the time but they came back the day after to the news we had been burgled. I sat up until 5am to make sure everyone felt safe.”
Another victim of burglary has thanked the officers and police staff who responded quickly and with compassion to his call for help.
The 75-year-old man lives alone at his home in Staffordshire. His 999 call was answered by a handler in our Force Control Room just before 12.30am on Saturday 22 July this year.
He reported waking up to find a figure walking up his stairs with a flashlight. When the victim called out, the intruder fled. Our officers arrived at the address just eight minutes after the start of his call.
He said: “The lady on the end of the phone was so kind and helped to calm me down. I was terrified. She kept talking to me and updating me on what was happening. Officers arrived quickly with a dog.
“The next day an officer came to take my statement and talk to neighbours. Straight after that I had the forensics chap here looking for fingerprints.
“It’s the first time I’ve had to ring 999 and I was so impressed. I was kept updated and I can’t thank everyone involved enough for helping to make me feel safe.”
In 2020 we pledged to attend and investigate all reported residential burglaries unless there is an exceptional reason for us not to do so. Last month (October) we received 190 reports and resourced just over 90% of these.
This comes on the back of success earlier in the year. In February, a team of specialist officers began working with neighbourhood officers in Stoke-on-Trent to investigate this type of crime.
This led to an increase in charging suspects for burglary, theft and robbery, a case against 13 individuals for burglaries across the city, the recovery of stolen property and an improved outcome rate of 19.4%, which is far higher than the national average.
We have also seen rise in car theft and theft from vehicles, therefore, throughout the campaign, we’ll be sharing a range of crime prevention advice on how to Be Sure You’re Secure.