Leicestershire police act in bid to tackle sudden rise in burglaries
Police have arrested 150 suspects in the first two months of a campaign to tackle a rise in burglaries.
Operation Dynamo was launched at the beginning of August in an attempt to reverse a sudden increase in the crime.
Officers in the city have detained 61 suspects since the campaign began, while their colleagues in the county have made 78 arrests.
Today, the force launched a new phase of the campaign by enlisting the public to a force-wide crime prevention effort.
People are being asked to be extra vigilant about their home security and to be constantly on the look-out for suspicious characters in their neighbourhoods. Officers will also be patrolling the streets looking for homes where people have gone out leaving their windows open.
They will place a hand-shaped leaflet through the open windows to illustrate to people how easy they had made life for criminals.
One crime victim said a burglary at his flat in Leicester's West End last year was one of the most shattering experiences of his life.
The 38-year-old said: "It's not just the things they took and the damage they caused, it's the idea someone has been poking around my home.
"It felt like it was my fault because I'd left a downstairs window open. It was like I invited them in.
"I'm very security conscious now so I make sure everything is locked and secure when I go out, even if I'm just nipping to the corner shop."
Detective Chief Inspector Rich Ward, who is running the campaign, said: "On many occasions when we examine the crime reports we see the words 'insecure entry'.
"This means the burglar has got into the property through an unlocked door or open window.
"We're hoping to encourage people to do a quick security check of their homes before they go out, or go to bed, to eliminate those opportunities.
"We've also had a number of incidents where people have reported suspicious activity three or four days after the crime.
"We want to encourage people to call us the minute they see something out of the ordinary so we can respond quickly.
"This significantly increases our chances of catching those responsible."
Officers will also be visiting convicted burglars at home to ensure they are staying out of trouble.
They will also be making greater use of the force's automatic number plate recognition cameras, which can read a car's registration plate and instantly cross reference it with their database of criminal suspects.
The force said burglaries were at a 13-year low but since the beginning of the year they have seen an increase of 3.4 per cent – the equivalent of 44 crimes – on the same period last year.