Burglaries on the slide in West Oxfordshire
Latest figures show the number of burglaries taking place in West Oxfordshire is down 25 per cent compared to last year, leading police to urge residents to do all they can to help them drive them down further.
So far since 1 April, 2007, there have been 98 burglaries in the district; that compares to 130 for the same period in 2006.
In West Oxfordshire the detection rate for this same period is currently 39%, four times that of last year.
Throughout November, Thames Valley Police is focussing on burglary as this time of year traditionally sees a rise in the number of burglaries.
Thieves take advantage of the clocks going back and the longer, darker evenings, and they also know people are starting to store presents in their homes in the run up to Christmas.
Det Sgt Craig Kirby, who leads West Oxfordshire's burglary team, said: "These figures are really encouraging and our officers are doing all they can to clamp down on burglaries in our area.
"We have taken a robust stance to domestic burglary offences. A dedicated team of officers, made up of experienced detectives and police constables, has been established.
"It is ensuring a consistently high level of investigation as well as the targeting of key suspects, and it is producing excellent results.
"More impressively the team has achieved such a good detection rate. In reality this means four times as many offenders are facing arrest and prosecution, a clear deterrent to those committing burglaries in this area.
"We have also been establishing strong cross border links with neighbouring forces such as Gloucestershire, West Mercia, Warwickshire and Wiltshire. Regular meetings and the sharing of intelligence means cross border offenders are quickly identified and can no longer hide in neighbouring counties.
"An equally important strategy has been our commitment to crime reduction. West Oxfordshire benefits from excellent partnership work between the police and other agencies, including West Oxfordshire District Council, the fire service, housing associations and private care agencies.
"This has enabled us to conduct high profile crime reduction campaigns such as the 'Bogus Caller awareness days', which have received support from Mr David Cameron, MP. This has enabled us to provide support to the more vulnerable areas of our community and reduce the number of victims here.
"The police or residents can not become complacent, and working together, we must do all we can beat the burglars; not just during this vulnerable period, but permanently."
Security tips for this time of year include:
• Fit five-lever deadlocks on all external doors and fit locks to the top and bottom of patio doors.
• Fit door chains or door bars to be used when strangers call.
• Install locks on all windows that are easy to reach from outside.
• Keep house and car keys well away from external doors and windows.
• Consider motion-activated external lighting - this can be a deterrent for criminals and will also enhance the personal safety of occupants.
• Trim trees, shrubs and hedges that might hide an intruder from neighbours or passers-by.
• When away from home set lamps on timer switches to come on at dusk.
If you would like specific crime prevention advice, contact your local Crime Reduction Office via 0845 8 505 505, or log on to the Thames Valley Police website
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