PermaLink Focus on burglary10/21/2008 10:37 AM
Committing crime is like a business, the criminal sees an opportunity where he can make money and calculates the cost of getting caught and the likely sentence before making a decision about whether it is worth the investment of time and effort. This is not always true of violent crime, which can be driven by irrational hatred and aggression, but it is certainly true in terms of property crime.

At the moment the criminals in Greater Manchester have seen an opportunity in burglary and they are looking to exploit it. They know that the only way to steal a modern car is often to steal the keys from inside your house. They know it is easy to sneak in through the back door and take a mobile phone or purse left on a kitchen surface. They know that laptops and plasma TVs are sought after by those who will ask no questions. They believe that courts are under pressure not to jail offenders, but this is not the case and the criminals are taking a chance.

We need to be very clear that the level of house burglary in Greater Manchester is totally unacceptable and it is something we all need to work to reduce. Many of these burglaries involve items being taken from people who did not have a lot to start off with. Many exploit the fact that the city attracts so many students and visitors who may not be as street wise as local residents. It is a reputation we don't want.

The so-called 'credit crunch' may create the temptation for some to try a false insurance claim. This is something we are onto and where we have suspicions we will be following them up.

Burglary is a particularly upsetting crime and we need to ensure we treat it seriously. We also need people's help to reduce opportunities for burglars, to report any suspicions and to destroy the market in stolen goods.

The police need to put the pressure on burglars by searching their houses, seizing their criminal assets, meeting them when they are released from prison, stopping them when they are out and about, and ensuring we gather quality evidence to secure convictions.

At the same time many burglars have drug habits and in the spirit of a 'carrot and stick' approach we need to ensure drug treatment and support services are available to encourage them to deal with their addictions - not an easy thing.

It is not all gloomy news as robbery is reducing as are most types of violent crime. Our efforts to disrupt local gang activity involving firearms also continues to benefit from the determined efforts of officers. We now need to repeat this success against the burglars.

Peter Fahy
Chief Constable

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