By Ian Dipple Friday 21 December 2012 Updated: 21/12 16:46
THE NUMBER of burglaries across Redditch has almost halved following the launch of a police crackdown on break-ins.
Citadel began in September and was a response by West Mercia Police to a rise in burglaries across the force area which showed there had been 150 more since April 1, compared with the previous year.
Police have used a range of measures to tackle the problem including greater analysis of crime patterns, co-ordinated use of technology such as automatic number plate recognition software and more visible patrols in burglary hotspots.
As a result burglaries across Redditch have fallen from 178 at this time last year to 100 - a drop of 43.8 per cent, the biggest in the North Worcestershire area. In Bromsgrove burglaries fell 23.3 per cent from 193 to 149 and 2.5 per cent in Wyre Forest from 199 to 194.
Across North Worcestershire as a whole break-ins are down 22.5 per cent from 570 to 442.
Det Insp John Cashion, head of the anti-burglary team in North Worcestershire, said as well as a drop in burglaries, detection of offences was also up nearly a third.
"Burglaries of people's homes are devastating for the victims and reducing these are a priority for us. We are therefore very pleased with the significant fall in the number of burglaries compared to last year," he said.
Supt Graeme Pallister, who is overseeing Citadel across West Mercia and Warwickshire, added: "We are not complacent and there is still a lot of work to do but it pleasing to see things moving in the right direction. That is why the Citadel initiative will be continuing for the foreseeable future in West Mercia, as well as being launched for the first time in Warwickshire.
"What is especially pleasing about recent figures is that we normally see an increase in burglaries as winter arrives. This year this has not happened. Although it is difficult to prove definitively, I have no doubt the Citadel operation has played a part in the recent improvement."
But Supt Pallister warned there was traditionally an increase in burglaries straight after Christmas and issued advice to residents including not leaving presents in windows or doorways, not putting them under the tree until the last minute, property marking expensive items and not to leave boxes from valuable gifts outside by a bin waiting for collection as it advertise to burglars what is inside the property.
More advice is available on Twitter @CitadelWMP. Residents can call 101 if they see anything suspicious in their area or have information about anyone they believe may be involved with a burglary. If a crime is in progress call 999.
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