Highest rise in burglaries in Thames ValleyBy Becky Barnes
October 04, 2012
Burglaries in Bracknell Forest have seen the highest rise across the Thames Valley, but the area’s top cop says police are doing ‘exceptionally well’ at keeping numbers low.
Bracknell Forest’s Chief Inspector Simon Bowden said ‘despicable’ housebreakers commit one of the ‘most intrusive’ crimes and any burglary was ‘one victim too many’.
Thames Valley Police’s mid-year update revealed Bracknell Forest had the highest percentage increase of burglaries of the 14 local police authorities (LPA), compared to the same period last year.
But Ch Insp Bowden said the rise was because the number of burglaries last year was the lowest for 20 years.
The figures, announced last week, reveal burglary has dropped by 21.1 per cent on average across the Thames Valley after 11 LPAs reported declines of between 12.8 and 54.6 per cent.
He said: “Of 14 areas in Thames Valley, Bracknell Forest has the second lowest number of burglaries of all of them. Small numbers can make a large percentage – the number was so low last year that there has been a percentage increase.”
There have been 114 burglaries in the borough since April 1, compared to 95 during the same period last year. There were 191 burglaries in total in 2011.
In August prolific burglar Andrew Mascall, 32, of Downshire Way, was jailed for three and half years for 10 burglaries in Bracknell.
Noisy burglar Peter Cassese, 19, of Rainforest Walk, was sentenced to two years and nine months in September after admitting five burglaries.
Six other people have been bailed after being questioned about six burglaries in the borough.
Ch Insp Bowden added: “Although we are doing exceptionally well, any burglary is one victim too many. Burglary is one of the most intrusive thing you can do.
“These despicable people have no respect for anybody’s property and often take items of sentimental value. Our objective is to put burglars behind bars – if you burgle in Bracknell you will go to prison.”
Police achieved a conviction in 34.5 per cent of reported burglaries. Detective Inspector Mick Squire, who heads the borough’s burglary investigations, said: “Five years ago there were 512 burglaries and each year that number has gone down despite thousands of houses being built.
“We have a good detection rate and a lot of convictions in the pipeline.”
DI Squire added: “We review every single burglary and try to set out patterns and plans to reduce them.
“But the easiest way to lower the number is to double lock your front door when you go to bed. It will help stop criminals travelling to our area as there will be slim pickings.”
DI Squire said there was
a spate of burglars
stealing car keys and then expensive cars. He
said: “These account for about 30 per cent. I would advise people to get a good alarm system, available for between £120 to £150, it
will give peace of mind and are good deterrents.”
Ch Insp Bowden added: “We have also increased our uniformed and plain clothes patrols.
“The streets of Bracknell are awash with cops.”