Residents living near burglary victims are to be visited by police officers to help them avoid becoming a target.
From August, officers and Neighbourhood Watch volunteers across the county will visit people living close to the scenes of break-ins within days of the crime to warn them about what has happened, show them how they can make sure their home is secure and gather information that could help catch offenders.
The tactic has been trialled in Hove and after a dramatic reduction in burglaries in the area, it is now being rolled out across the force as part of Operation Magpie, Sussex Police’s crackdown on burglary across the county.
Inspector Nick Dias said, “Burglars try to maximise the amount they get from their crime while minimising the time they have to find looking for a house to break into and the chance of them being caught.
“By warning local people when there has been a burglary we can not only reduce the chance of them becoming a victim but also force the offender to take more of a risk to commit crime. That means the burglar may move to an area they do not know well so they are more likely to leave evidence behind at the scene or to be caught in the act.
“Everyone can help us tackle burglary in Sussex by taking every step possible to keep their home secure. Simple measures like double-locking your front door and using window locks have been proven to be effective deterrents against offenders.
“Also, every burglar we take off the streets means fewer victims of burglary so we would encourage members of the community to contact us if they see anyone acting suspiciously in their area. We can all work together to make Sussex a no-go area for burglars.”
During the 24-week trial in Hove from August 2013, the number of burglaries fell by 51% compared to the same period a year earlier - a drop from 263 to 120. Across the rest of the force the number of burglaries fell by 21% during the same period.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, has welcomed the initiative, which maximises face-to-face contact between the public, the police and community volunteers.
She said, “I know burglary is a concern for local people, not least because it has a deep, personal impact on victims. I urge residents to follow this advice to help avoid being affected by burglary. I will continue to keep a watchful eye on how the police are tackling this issue.”