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The number of home invasions across Northamptonshire has reduced by over 50% and commercial burglaries have gone down by nearly 60% since Northamptonshire Police’s dedicated burglary team was launched three years ago.
Operation Crooked is the Force’s campaign to reduce burglary - a focus for Northamptonshire Police since Chief Constable Nick Adderley joined in 2018.
As part of the operation, two Burglary Teams covering both the north and west of the county, sit within CID, and they ensure that every burglary victim in Northamptonshire gets a visit from the police.
In the past three years, the team have also worked on driving up the quality of investigations, managing and progressing forensic hits more quickly, hunting down wanted people, organising police patrols in areas of concern and gathering intelligence to prevent burglaries before they happen.
Since April 1, 2019, when Operation Crooked was launched, home invasions have reduced by 50.9%. This equates to approximately 2500 fewer victims per year.
Commercial burglaries have also gone down too with a reduction of 59.2% in the past three years, equating to 1299 fewer victims.
And victim satisfaction levels are the second highest in the Force at 79%, just behind domestic abuse.
Also, since the operation began, hundreds of people have been arrested for burglary offences with some notable convictions secured as well.
Recent ones have included 43-year-old Gavin Appleyard being jailed for two years and eight months in February this year after breaking into a Kettering home before trying car door handles in a nearby street.
Two men who broke into a house while the occupant lay in bed upstairs were jailed for 34 months apiece in the same month. Jermaine Lewis, 40, and Stacey Barlow, 41, smashed their way into a house in Gillsway, Kingsthorpe, while the occupant lay upstairs in bed. Once inside they stole a mobile phone, cash and multiple bank cards, which they then used to make contactless transactions.
And two and half years in prison was handed to 36-year-old Lee John Floyd McQuade in March this year, after he broke into two houses in August 2021, stealing a Cartier watch worth £1000 and three electric bikes.
Reflecting on the reduction, Head of Crime – Detective Superintendent Emma James, said: “It’s been three years since Northamptonshire Police launched Operation Crooked and the teams have gone from strength to strength, with a real passion to tackle burglary and put the offenders behind bars.
“Burglary is a crime that people often underestimate in regards to just how much it affects victims. Everyone’s home is the one place that we are meant to feel safe and being burgled completely violates that feeling of security.
“That’s why burglary is so important to us and my message to burglars in this county is simple - we have made Northamptonshire a hostile place for you and our Burglary Team detectives remain solely dedicated to catching you and putting you behind bars.
“Finally, let me be clear that whilst a 50% reduction is good, we know that there is much more to do, and I want to reassure the people in this county that we will not take our foot off the gas in our aim to reduce these numbers even further.”
Stephen Mold - Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, said: “When I was first elected as the Commissioner one of the areas people told me they wanted to see us address were crimes that really affected their community. It is absolutely fantastic to see that the numbers of burglaries have dramatically reduced and are doing so year-on-year, and this shows how effective the new approach has been.
“It was a key priority for me to ensure that a better service was provided to victims of domestic burglary, and Op Crooked and the two burglary teams in CID are meeting the challenge to ensure that every victim of burglary receives a visit from Northamptonshire Police. That approach is now leading the way nationally and I celebrate that success that has driven down the number of incidents and given victims a far better service when crimes do happen.
“The stats really do back up what a huge success this has been, both in terms of the reduction of crime but also in terms of victim satisfaction levels, and this is down to the very hard work of all involved.”