As the nights draw in, Sussex Police is reminding people to keep a light on and take steps to protect their homes from burglars.
From today (Monday 28 October) to Sunday 3 November, the force is running Operation Magpie, its bi-annual burglary prevention and awareness campaign, providing timely advice to people on securing their property.
Of 43 UK police forces, Sussex enjoys one of the lowest burglary rates, placing it seventh highest among counties where break-ins are least likely. There were 7700 reported burglaries throughout Sussex from October 2018-September 2019.
During the week prevention advice and tips will be shared on social media. This year’s campaign will also focus on preventing break-ins in rural areas. which can be more vulnerable to burglary.
Following the introduction of dedicated rural crime Police and Community Support Officers (PCSOs) they will be patrolling potential hot-spots in the countryside, aiming to engage with residents and offer advice and reassurance while providing a high-visibility deterrent to criminals.
Sussex Police takes reports of burglary seriously and keeps unsolved cases under constant review. In August, a Hastings householder awoke to the sound of footsteps and his bedroom door opening, only for the intruder to flee when he realised someone was there. A kitchen door had been damaged and valuables were missing. Police were called and the suspect was later arrested and charged with burglary and theft. An earlier break-in by the same offender came to light and he is currently awaiting sentence for both.
Detective Chief Inspector Alasdair Henry, Sussex Police burglary lead, said: “Burglary is a horrible crime which can cause victims long-lasting suffering. Whether it be the invasion of your home, damage to your business premises or the theft of essential work tools, it is totally abhorrent to us and that is why our priority is to reduce this crime and catch those who are responsible. Over the coming week we will be highlighting crime prevention advice to help our communities and sharing the efforts we go to in preventing and solving these crimes.”
Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner said:“Burglary can have a profound impact on a victim, especially those that live in more isolated, rural communities.
“This is why I am pleased that with 100 extra PCSOs and the recent launch of a specialist rural crime team, Sussex Police is able to also target rural hot spot areas during this campaign. I hope this will deter burglars from preying on those in more remote locations and help residents feel safer.
“The Force is proactively tackling this issue and I will continue to ensure that they maintain their effective levels of prevention and deterrent activities.
"However, we all have a part to play to help keep Sussex safe and I urge residents to follow police advice and keep their property secure so that they are not a target for burglars.”
Register your belongings on the Immobilise national property register. It's free and takes moments to do. If your valuables are subsequently stolen, it helps police, insurers and second-hand traders to identify them.
You can also join Sussex Police’s community message service, In the Know, which will keep you updated on news in your area. Find out how to join here.
Communities can often work together to prevent crime. Joining an existing Neighbourhood Watch scheme or becoming a NHW coordinator helps to strengthen deterrents. More information can be found here.