Operation Insight from Essex Police targets autumn burglaries by predicting crime surge as clocks go back

Burglar climbing over a garden well. Photo By Shout/Rex Features.

Burglar climbing over a garden well. Photo By Shout/Rex Features. - Credit: Shout / Rex Features

Essex Police is using a innovative crime prediction technique as part of an autumn campaign to tackle burglaries.

Operation Insight has been relaunched in a bid to target the most at-risk areas.

It was first launched on October 1 2013, and resulted in 823 fewer break-ins over the course of the year.

Chief Superintendent Carl O’Malley, who has been running the operation, said: “Traditionally we see a rise in break-ins through autumn into winter but last year we saw a fall and I want to continue that trend. We aim to do that by continuing to refine Op Insight.”

Op Insight analyses intelligence to identify where future burglaries are most likely, before work is used to stop them.


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It is based on the idea that many criminals will operate in an area they know well and have been successful in before.

Crime figures are used to plot circles on maps where crime is more likely, and then officers, PCSOs and other partners will patrol these concentrated areas.

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Deployments of officers, PCSOs, and partner agency patrols are concentrated in the areas which are ranked as higher or hyper-risk areas.

Police also work with homes surrounding a burglary victim to ensure security is tightened as there is an increased risk of becoming a victim if you live close to someone who has been broken into.

Ch Supt O’Malley said: “We are continuing to analyse this activity to see how we can further improve the system.

“Every day we decide which zones are patrolled and where other supporting police activity takes place. We are also looking at overlaying stop and search data on the Insight maps to provide more intelligence on where our officers are best sent.”

“I am sure that part of the success of Insight is down to this ‘cocooning’ process we carry out to alert neighbours to the risk of being burgled.

“As we head into the autumn I would advise all householders across Essex to take stock of how well their homes are protected against burglars.”

The relaunch follows a spate of 10 burglaries in the past two weeks in the Highwoods and St John’s areas of Colchester.

Items were also stolen from a home in Peto Avenue, Colchester, between 10.30pm Saturday October 11 and 10.45am the following morning, while on the same night a black Mini Countryman was taken from the driveway of a house in nearby Turner Road.

For more crime prevention information go to the Essex Police website.

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