Calls for a new “burglary squad” after “hot spot” towns in borough are revealed
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Councillors are calling for a “burglary squad” after “hot spots” in Brentwood were revealed.
Figures on crime mapping website Police.uk show a rise in burglaries in the borough between April 2012 and March 2013 compared to the previous year.
Hutton had 143 burglaries – a 19.8 per cent rise on the previous year, while Brentwood town had a nine per cent increase with 259 incidents. Shenfield had a rise of 14 per cent to 187 incidents.
Councillors have called for a focused team to work with the police to bring down the number of burglaries and a dedicated Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator after concerns with the rising numbers.
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On Monday, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex Nick Alston told a public meeting in Brentwood that there had been a rise in house burglaries in particular.
His briefing document said house burglaries had increased from 485 in 2011/12 to 548 in 2012/13 – a 13 per cent increase.
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He added that there had been “focused policing activity” in response to the sharp increase in house burglary towards the end of 2012.
He added: “Activity has included analysis to ensure the specific deployment of resources to “hot spots” and the provision of bespoke crime prevention advice.”
But local councillors believe more needs to be done to tackle burglary levels.
Cllr Russell Quirk, (Hutton) said the solution was a a new team focused on these specific crimes.
He said: “The remedy would be a local burglary squad that is pro-active in investigating these crimes and arresting people.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr David Kendall said: “We have been very concerned about the increase in burglaries across the borough for sometime.
“At the recent budget setting meeting we called for Brentwood to have its own Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator who would be totally focused on liaising with existing watches and helping to set up new watches across the borough in the fight against crime.”
He said the call was rejected at the time, but believed the council should take a lead on it because “it is vital to get the community actively involved.”
He added that sharing a co-ordinator with Harlow and Epping was “too big an area to cover effectively”.
Essex Police said they are making tackling burglary a priority through operations in Brentwood, including Operation Bluebell that involved local officers, specialist officers and detectives. Three hundred people have been stopped and 18 arrested since February.
And Operation Albatross targeted Hutton and Brentwood in January, focusin on major roads leading into the borough.