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Burglars will have “nowhere to hide” as the Metropolitan Police Service launch their seasonal crackdown on burglary and those who handle stolen goods today, Monday 26 September.

Operation Bumblebee sees officers intensifying their efforts to work with forces from across the country to target burglars who try to evade capture by travelling across county lines.

Meanwhile they are calling on Londoners to act now and follow basic crime prevention advice to protect their homes at a time when we traditionally see a rise in residential burglary offences.

As the clocks go back, and nights draw in, homes remain in darkness for longer, making them easier targets. The public are advised to:

– Ensure doors and windows are properly locked with a key when leaving home;
– Keep valuables out of sight and out of reach;
– Lock side gates and store bins behind them;
– Avoid leaving packaging outside, which may indicate you have expensive new items in your home, especially around Christmas time.

As part of Operation Bumblebee, officers will employ a range of proactive measures including traditional tactics, working with forces from across the country, and the use of science and technology.

Specialist manhunt teams will be deployed to track down the most evasive wanted burglary suspects, whilst high-visibility patrols will take place in burglary hot spots, driven by the use of predictive crime mapping.

Officers will also be targeting those organised criminal groups who prey on the elderly and vulnerable by pretending to be officials in order to gain access to their homes.

Activity includes the continued rollout of an innovative forensic property marking system named MetTrace, in partnership with SmartWater®, being delivered to every London borough. Residents are provided with a kit, to mark their property with a unique code identifiable to any police officer or second hand goods buyer.

Officers will be using super cocooning to support victims and prevent offences in the surrounding neighbourhood; following a burglary it is not uncommon that burglars will target a number of houses in the same street.

Super cocooning works by encouraging residents to be extra vigilant and security conscious. Safer Neighbourhoods teams pay a home visit to victims and their neighbours as soon as possible after an offence is reported, to give crime prevention advice and gather local intelligence, whilst patrols are stepped up in the area.

Under Operation Neptune, the Met maps second-hand markets, negotiates a voluntary Code of Conduct for premises to record sellers’ personal details, checks property with the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit and informs local police when stolen property comes into their possession. We will also be targeting those known to be selling or receiving stolen goods, with a focus on gold and jewellery, and items such as tablets and laptops.

Latest figures [rolling 12 months figures up to July 2016] show burglary offences have fallen by 4 percent across the Met compared with the previous rolling 12 months [2,889 fewer offences] with the biggest reduction seen in residential burglary at 4.7 percent [2,165 fewer offences].

Temporary Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, Borough Commander for Barking & Dagenham, leading Operation Bumblebee, said: “Burglary can be a very traumatic experience with a long-lasting impact on victims.

“The Met is committed to driving down this crime and is working hard every day to prevent offences, arrest offenders and support victims.

“We are working with other forces from across the country in a coordinated effort so that burglars will have nowhere to hide. By also targeting people who handle stolen goods, we are sending a clear message that anyone who benefits from burglary is implicated in a serious crime.

“As part of this work, we urge Londoners to take action to safeguard their homes by following our simple crime prevention advice. By thinking like a burglar, and noticing and addressing where your home and possessions may be vulnerable, you can reduce the chances of it happening to you.”

Top ten tips for securing your home:

1. Don’t leave your keys or ID documents within easy reach of doors, letterboxes or windows.

2. Close and lock all doors and windows. If you have multi-locking door handles, lift the handle, lock it with the key and remove it. Remember – LIFT – LOCK – REMOVE. Put the key in a safe place out of sight in case of fire.

3. Lock garages and sheds so garden tools and ladders can’t be used to break into your home.

4. Keep side gates locked and wheelie bins stored behind them.

5. Use timer switches linked to lights and a radio so it appears that someone is at home.

6. Invest in a safe for valuables and sentimental items and securely fix it to a solid surface.

7. Install a visible intruder alarm system – burglars don’t want to be seen or heard.

8. Install low level ‘dusk till dawn’ lighting to increase visibility and deter burglars.

9. Keep side and rear boundaries high to restrict access and front boundaries low to remove hiding places.

10. Photograph and mark valuables and sentimental items with your postcode and house number/name.

Register items with serial numbers at: www.immobilise.com

For more help and advice visit: www.metbumblebee.org

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