Operation Bumblebee Starts Buzzing

Autumn crackdown on burglars

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Operation Bumblebee

The Met is calling on Londoners to take simple steps to secure their home as it intensifies its crackdown against burglars who capitalise on the darker nights and seasonal celebrations to prowl for valuables, gifts and cash.

Operation Bumblebee kicks off on Monday, 20 October, to tackle the 25 per cent rise in residential burglary offences traditionally seen during autumn and winter, as the clocks go back, nights draw in and homes remain in darkness for longer, making them easier targets.

With approximately one third of residential burglaries showing no signs of forced entry - suggesting either doors or windows were not properly secured, the Met is urging the public to act now and follow basic crime prevention advice to prevent them from being a target.

Advice includes:

* Ensure doors and windows are properly locked with a key when leaving home
* Keep valuables out of sight and out of reach
* Lock side gates and store bins behind them
* Avoid leaving packaging outside, which indicate you have expensive new items in your home, especially around Christmas time.

A range of pro-active measures, including traditional tactics and the use of science and technology will be put to action during Operation Bumblebee.

Specialist manhunt teams will be deployed to track down the most evasive wanted burglary suspects, whilst high visibility patrols will take place in burglary hot spots, driven by the use of predictive crime mapping.

The MPS is making good use of predictive crime mapping, which takes historic crime data and models the likely locations of future criminal acts. This allows us to direct officers and other resources to key areas. We now produce automated crime maps for every ward in London covering 14 different crime types.

Officers will be using super cocooning to support victims and prevent offences in the surrounding neighbourhood, as following a burglary it is not uncommon that burglars will target a number of houses in the same street.

Super cocooning works by encouraging residents to be extra vigilant and security conscious. Safer Neighbourhood Teams pay a home visit to victims and their neighbours, as soon as possible after an offence is reported, to give crime prevention advice, gather local intelligence, whilst patrols are stepped up in the area.

We are constantly introducing new initiatives to help the public protect their property such as the free traceable liquid marking systems that mark property with a unique code identifiable to any police officer or second-hand goods buyer. Treatment of 5,000 London homes across ten hotspots saw 767 less burglaries and an average drop in crime of 54 per cent in the last ten months of 2013.

Under Operation Neptune, the MPS maps second-hand markets, negotiates a voluntary Code of Conduct for premises to record sellers' personal details, checks property with the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit and informs local police when stolen property comes into their possession. There are regular visits and audit checks by local officers.

Latest figures [rolling 12 months figures up to 16 October 2014] show burglary offences have fallen by 11.5 per cent across the Met compared to the previous rolling 12 months [10,272 fewer offences] with the biggest reduction seen in residential burglary at 12.2 per cent [7,070 fewer offences].

Commander Simon Letchford, leading Operation Bumblebee, said: "Burglary can have a long-lasting emotional impact on victims, leaving them feeling isolated and vulnerable.

"The Met is committed to driving down burglary and is working hard every day to prevent offences, arrest offenders and support victims.

"Burglaries in London are at the lowest level in forty years and we have introduced a range of pro-active measures and use innovative technology to tackle offences, but there are still too many people falling victim to burglary and there is more to do.

"Help us to further prevent burglary by safeguarding your property and valuables. Think like a burglar and you are likely to notice that your home and possessions are vulnerable. By following our simple crime prevention advice this winter, you can reduce the chances of it happening to you."

Top ten tips for securing your home:

1 Don't leave your keys or ID documents within easy reach of doors, letterboxes or windows.

2 Close and lock all doors and windows. If you have multi-locking door handles, lift the handle, lock it with the key and remove it. Remember - LIFT - LOCK - REMOVE. Put the key in a safe place out of sight in case of fire.

3 Lock garages and sheds so garden tools and ladders can't be used to break into your home.

4 Keep side gates locked and wheelie bins stored behind them.

5 Use timer switches linked to lights and a radio so it appears that someone is at home.

6 Invest in a safe for valuables and sentimental items and securely fix it to a solid surface.

7 Install a visible intruder alarm system - burglars don't want to be seen or heard.

8 Install low level 'dusk till dawn' lighting to increase visibility and deter burglars.

9 Keep side and rear boundaries high to restrict access and front boundaries low to remove hiding places.

10 Photograph and mark valuables and sentimental items with your postcode and house number/name. Register items with serial numbers at: www.immobilise.com

For more help and advice visit www.metbumblebee.org

October 23, 2014

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