Operation Storm targets burglars

Date published: 22 January 2010

Police in Rochdale have launched a new blitz on burglars to bring down crime, increase the number of burglars convicted and provide a high profile presence on the streets.

Greater Manchester Police has arrested more than 600 burglars, robbers and thieves in four days this week in its first major clampdown of the New Year.

As part of Operation Storm, police will continue to target known and suspected burglars through home visits, stop checks, high profile policing and use of the automated number plate recognition system (ANPR) to reassure residents and deter offenders.

High impact enforcement activity on all divisions across the Force has seen officers making almost 100 raids on properties of suspected criminals.

The raids have also resulted in the arrest of a dozen drug dealers and the closure of four cannabis farms. Drugs with an estimated value well in excess of £50,000 have been recovered.

To date Operation Storm has helped reduce burglary by more than 12% when comparing figures from 1 April last year to the same period in 2008 / 09. This equates to 2,300 fewer families being subjected to this distressing crime.

As part of the crackdown officers have been serving warrants, checking offenders are complying with bail and curfew conditions and visiting persistent criminals and those recently released from prison to check on their activities.

Officers from local burglary teams have been supported by neighbourhood policing teams and specialist officers from the mounted, dog, tactical aid and road policing units in this latest clean-up. Court Enforcement Officers have also been arresting offenders for non-payment of fines.

Chief Inspector James Troisi, for Rochdale Division, said: “Action such as this shows offenders that they will be made to payback for the misery they cause to innocent people. There is no hiding place for them and we will make sure that they are caught.”

Throughout the initiative residents are being urged to register their valuable items on Immobilise.com, the national property database, so if they are stolen and later recovered they can be returned to their rightful owner. This has been done through mobile surgeries across the borough as well as workshops at schools to encourage pupils to register items such as their mobile phones and IPods.

In addition, officers will conduct checks to ensure second-hand outlets are not handling stolen goods and police community support officers will be issuing Smartwater in the Healey area.

The Heywood and Middleton Neighbourhood Policing Teams have been delivering crime prevention surveys in a bid to reduce burglaries in the homes of vulnerable people. A locksmith from Timpsons has accompanied them to fit the crime prevention equipment on completion of the survey for free.

Chief Inspector Troisi, said: “I would like the residents of Rochdale to remember to register their valuables. Not only is Immobolise.com free, it is easy to use and helps to put a dent into the stolen goods market and simplifies insurance claims and police reports.”

Other tactics residents can use to secure their valuables is to make their property less vulnerable to burglars. Simple tips include:

Keeping doors and windows shut and locked even when you are in. One in three burglaries are down to thieves getting in through open doors and windows.

Keep gadgets and valuables out of sight and away from windows.

Dispose of boxes that contained valuables by taking them to the tip - leaving them outside your home is an advert to thieves of what might be inside.

Install and use your burglar alarm every time you leave the house and when you go to bed.

Use lights, radios and timer switches to make your house look occupied.

Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said: “Our commitment to making 2010 a totally miserable year for criminals has got off to a flying start with this first crackdown of many that are planned for the coming months.

“We are targeting offenders in their homes, in their communities and on the streets leaving them nowhere to escape. They and the law-abiding people of our region can be assured that this level of activity will be maintained throughout the year leaving criminals with two choices – to go straight or go straight to prison.

“Residents can play their part in this fight against these criminals by refusing to buy goods they suspect have been stolen, reporting their suspicions to us either directly or anonymously through Crimestoppers and following simple crime reduction advice.

“A third of burglaries are still down to people leaving doors and windows open or unlocked. By locking up, using alarms and keeping burglars guessing by leaving a light on when you go out you can dramatically reduce your chances of falling victim to this distressing crime.”

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