Chief Inspector Paul Winter’s guest column: Reduce temptation and help reduce crime in Mansfield and Ashfield

If I described burglars as badgers you might think I’d started to lose the plot.

Monday, 17th February 2014, 10:59 am

In cartoon terms your stereotypical burglar might wear a black and white striped top, but that’s perhaps where the similarities end.

So is it surprising that our latest operation in Mansfield and Ashfield is quite closely linked to these and other nocturnal wildlife?

Operation Forager is based around the theory that criminal behaviour often imitates animal behaviour.

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When it finds a food supply in the wild a badger will continue to return to the source for as long as the food remains or until there is a risk of a predator.

In the same way it’s been shown that criminals, who have success in one area, will continue to chance their luck in that same area until the burglary booty runs out or a predator steps in.

In this case we are the predators and the work we have been doing since September last year has been driving an operation to put a stop to burglars continuing to reoffend in particular areas.

Whenever there is a burglary we increase our patrols in that area and carry out house-to-house enquiries.

Since we have taken this approach we have helped more than 1500 residents by educating them about reducing their chances of becoming a victim of crime.

This included giving out almost 2,000 ultra violet pens for people to mark their possessions and 50 plug socket timers.

A further 385 have signed up to our Neighbourhood Alert system which provides information about any crimes that have taken place in their locality.

Almost 30 victims have been referred to the handy man SAFE scheme. This is an initiative where members of the public can contact approved trades people for work they want undertaking.

By raising the awareness in the local community we have managed to reduce burglary and more importantly repeat burglaries in our area .

While we continue to be besieged by this bad weather please can I ask you to look after your neighbours and more vulnerable members of our community.

If someone has had an accident or has come to some harm in their home, they may not be able to attract attention of neighbours, passers-by or people who call at the door.

Always be on the look-out for signs that something might be wrong and continue to be vigilant around unusual activity in your community:

Look out for:

• milk not taken in late in the day

• newspapers stuck in the letterbox for a few days

• curtains have been drawn for a few days when they are normally open

• lights left on during the day when they are normally off

• home in darkness when there should be someone at home

• bins have been left out when they are normally put away

• dog barking all day or the cat scratching to be let in.

If you are concerned about a neighbour, please knock on their door to see if they are

ok. In an emergency phone 999.