In England, a Police System Tries to Predict Residential Burglaries

A police blitz on burglars in Stockton which predicts where they will strike next is expanding after proving a success.

Operation Crystal uses the latest analytical research to identify "at risk" houses and put residents on alert before they are burgled.

Launched in May in the Mount Pleasant area of Stockton, the estatehas seen just two burglaries since, say police chiefs.

This week Operation Crystal is moving into the Norton Grange area,following stage two in Hartington Road and Dovecote Street.

Alongside the operation police today were targeting 11 known burglars in the area through their Beat the Burglar drive.

By 8.30am six known offenders had been arrested and Detective Chief Inspector Darren Best was confident all 11 would be held by lunchtime.

Det Chief Insp Best said the feedback from residents in the first stages of Operation Crystal had been "fantastic".

He said: "In Mount Pleasant where there have been two burglaries since we launched we would have expected maybe up to 30 in the same period if the trend there had continued.

"It was a hot spot area which the month before May had seen eight or nine burglaries in a little cluster."

Research has shown that following a burglary there is a heightenedrisk of further burglary within a 200m radius. As a result, crime analysts and crime reduction officers say they can identify which properties may be at future risk.

Once a burglary hot spot area is identified, beat bobbies, Police Community Support Officers and Stockton Council enforcement officers are drafted in to distribute leaflets putting people on alert and giving crime protection advice.

Det Chief Insp Best accepts there was danger Operation Crystal could increase fear of crime, but said: "We are not out to frighten people, but criminals go for the easy option and take advantage of properties where security is lax."


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