No festive cheer for criminals

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CRIME plummeted over the festive season, new figures have revealed.

The number of burglaries fell by 10 per cent, and robberies by 17 per cent, after Northumbria Police’s “Don’t Let Thieves Steal Your Christmas” campaign.

The campaign ran from November 15 to Boxing Day, and saw an overall five per cent fall in acquisitive crime – which includes theft, robbery, shoplifting, thefts from motor vehicles and household burglaries.

“We wanted everyone to have a happy holiday and not fall victim to petty thieves,” said Chief Inspector Bob Ryan, of the force’s Harm Reduction Unit.

“As part of the campaign, officers took part in operational activity to disrupt criminal activity, catch thieves, and seize stolen goods.

“Together with local shopping centres and high street stores, we also gave out advice to the public about keeping their Christmas gifts out of sight and not having them on show, either in their car windows or at home.”

He added: “Our message appears to have hit home, with burglaries down by 10 per cent and theft by 13 per cent.

“I am also delighted that there have been fewer victims of robbery, with the number down by 17 per cent from an already low number.”

The campaign saw success stories across the whole force area.

A number of raids took place in Sunderland last month, with drugs, cash and property being recovered.

Officers also carried out high visibility patrols offering reassurance and crime prevention advice to members of the community.

A number of initiatives concentrated on apprehending shoplifters and figures showed a five per cent rise in such offences coming to police attention during the campaign, with 902 arrests compared to 817 in the same period of 2009 – up 10 per cent.

In South Tyneside, officers patrolled the Metro system as part of the campaign, targeting known shoplifters to stop them coming into the borough’s shopping areas and apprehend those who have committed shoplifting offences before getting onto the system.

Advice on crime prevention is available on the Northumbria Police website, as is contact details for neighbourhood policing teams.

They can also be contacted by calling 03456 043 043, extension 69191.