Essex: County sees 10% more burglaries

BURGLARIES in Essex have increased by almost 10%, figures reveal.

A total of 14,177 incidents were reported to police last year compared with 12,967 in 2010.

The number of shops, offices and factories that have been ransacked jumped from 5,690 to 6,421 - an increase of just over 12%, while the number of homes burgled went up from 5,297 to 5,624, equating to a 6% rise.

The news comes after Essex Police announced a new policing ‘Blueprint’ in July which has seen �41million slashed from their annual budget. Around 400 police officers have lost their jobs while some police station front counters are being closed or have their opening hours reduced.

But Essex Police say they are continuing to target those responsible and have seen burglaries in north east Essex

decline even though figures for some neighbourhoods still paint a worrying picture.

In Harwich, there were 19 burglaries in December 2011 compared to just three in December 2010, while in January, six homes in the town were broken into within two days.

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In Walton, Frinton, Manningtree and Colchester the number of burglaries have also risen within the same time period, but only marginally.

Rachel Oswick, owner of bespoke art framing company Picture This in Dovercourt High Street said vandals targeted her property last week but it was unclear whether they had intended to steal anything.

“They smashed the glass round the back but we have wiring and bars so they didn’t get in. It seems a strange target but a few years ago burglars did get in and stole a laptop and ransacked the till.

“My home has also been burgled in the past and actually forced me to move house in the end. They took everything. It’s horrible, you feel violated.”

On January 29, a woman in her 90s was pushed down the stairs when she was confronted by a burglar at her house on Berechurch Road, Colchester and left bruised and shaken.

Assistant Chief Constable Maurice Mason said: “We recognise that house burglaries have a serious impact on homeowners and we are arresting those responsible. We have identified hot spots so as to concentrate resources to combat the problem.

Superintendent Darrin Tomkins added: “Since April 2011, the force has experienced nearly 60 less burglaries in north-east Essex compared to the same period (April – January) in 2010.

“The majority of burglaries are committed by a small number of criminals who are known to police due to their prolific offending profile. As such, specific operations are carried out in order to arrest these individuals.

“However, we do need homeowners to play their part. Windows and doors need to be closed and locked, even if people are inside their property. Furthermore, those who have UPVC doors should secure them properly by engaging the additional bolts on their doors and then using the key to lock it. Only by locking the door with the key, does the door become fully secured.”