This is the final week of the campaign, which has seen police draw attention to three big burglary issues: Asian gold theft, distraction burglary and domestic burglary over Christmas. Police forces have been providing crime prevention advice to communities across the UK and taking action to combat thieves.
Nationally burglary has fallen. You are now three times less likely to be victim of burglary than in 1995.[i] However, there is a trend for an increase in burglaries around the Christmas period so it is important that people take simple precautions to protect themselves and their belongings.
In the run up to Christmas, criminals are on the lookout for signs of expensive purchases such as visible presents underneath Christmas trees, packaging on display or old electronic goods left outside suggesting new replacements have been purchased.
As market conditions have changed, the items most desired by burglars have also altered. Jewellery, cash and high value items that can be readily sold onto others are now more desirable than bulkier items that have little resale value. Smartphones, laptops, tablet computers and e-readers are all expected to sell well this December; their size and high value mean that they are also items on burglars' Christmas lists.
Burglars can be both highly organised international criminals and opportunistic thieves but they all looking for high value items and an easy way in.
Anyone can become a victim of burglary but poor home security is the factor that makes people most vulnerable. Analysis of the Crime Survey 2009/2010 found that households without window locks and dead locks on outside doors were six times more likely to be burgled than those with these security fittings.[ii]
ACPO lead on burglary Assistant Chief Constable Paul Broadbent said:
"Burglary can mean much more to victims than the loss of possessions. It can leave them feeling scared, violated and vulnerable. If items are not insured, it can also lead to financial as well as emotional strain. A burglary over the Christmas period can almost certainly ruin the holiday.
"The police service has worked hard to tackle burglary and this is evident in the recorded crime figures, which show a six per cent fall in burglary in June 2012.[iii] We have made great use of new technology, DNA evidence and CCTV digitalisation in apprehending burglars. Restorative justice and work to divert individuals away from a life in crime have also been successful over recent years.
"This year we want to make sure people are aware that the most effective way to prevent becoming a victim of burglary is simple: secure property properly and remove high value items from view. Follow the tips below to keep your home safe and secure this Christmas."
o Don't go in or call out - the intruder could still be inside.
o Go to a neighbour's to call the Police.
o Don't touch anything or tidy up.