Police use ‘Minority Report’ style predictive crime mapping to keep Havering safe from burglars over Christmas

Minority report

Minority report - Credit: Archant

Minority Report-style predictive crime mapping is being used by Havering Police to tackle the borough’s ongoing burglary plight. There is an average of 172 burglaries a month in Havering.

Raymond Grinyer had a huge heart attack after discovering his home had been burgled.

Raymond Grinyer had a huge heart attack after discovering his home had been burgled. - Credit: Archant

This is an 8.5 per cent reduction on the previous year and police say this is partly due to the futuristic technology.

The Gregory family were burgled when they were at Goodmayes Psychiatric hospital on Monday
Jane & C

The Gregory family were burgled when they were at Goodmayes Psychiatric hospital on Monday Jane & Colin Gregory. - Credit: Archant

“Have you seen that film Minority Report?” said Det Ch Insp Phil Rickells. “It works like that.”

Using historical records of crimes, the police can predict where they are likely to happen again and then deploy foot patrols to either prevent the offence or catch the offenders.

This is particularly important at this time of the year, which traditionally heralds a spike in break-ins as the nights draw in and Christmas gifts go on display,


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Pc Neil Adams said: “There have been times when they have left the jewellery but nicked the Christmas presents.”

The Harold Hill, Harold Wood and Noak Hill areas are the fifth most likely in the whole country to be targeted by housebreakers and garden thieves, insurers’ statistics recently revealed.

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The Metropolitan Police has issued a “Twelve Days of Christmas” leaflet to help you reduce your chance of becoming a victim.

The advice includes keeping your presents out of sight and not leaving the empty boxes of your new laptop, camera or other such expensive gifts outside in plain view.

These can become the perfect adverts for a passing villain.

Mr Rickells said: “We have a spate of burglaries when the lights go off for the winter nights but we haven’t had the volume we normally have.

“It is a heinous offence; it is an invasion of someone’s privacy. We want to catch these people.” And indeed burglaries can do more than invade people’s privacy.

Great-grandfather Raymond Grinyer, 85, collapsed with a heart attack after finding that his Harold Hill home of 36 years had been ransacked.

That was just 12 days after last Christmas.

His family are convinced it was the shock that killed him.

Just last month, the Gregory family returned to their Vine Street home in Romford to find that burglars had pinched £10,000 of jewellery as well as two laptops and three iPads.

What is perhaps more worrying, however, is that days later the password on their daughter’s email account had been changed.

The family feared that the crooks were trawling through her private emails.

Mr Rickells said the main time for burglaries is dusk, which is dark enough for raiders to take cover but light enough for them to see what they are doing.

“When you come in from work, look at the front of your house,” he added.

“If you were a burglar and you saw a house in complete darkness, you would think there’s no-one in.”

His advice is to make it look like your home isn’t empty by installing security lighting and investing in a timer switch for a lamp.

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