Security professionals issue stark warning

A time­ly, stark reminder was issued today that there is like­ly to be a surge in thefts, bur­glar­ies and rob­beries over the Christ­mas fort­night, based on the evi­dence of the past three years. Over­all, the fig­ures rose 20% dur­ing this time accord­ing to VPS Secu­ri­ty, spe­cial­ists in pro­vid­ing pro­tec­tion for build­ings, vacant com­mer­cial, retail and res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties, con­struc­tion sites, util­i­ty sta­tions and trans­port hubs. 

Analy­sis of crime sta­tis­tics pro­vid­ed via Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act requests last Decem­ber showed that each day of the hol­i­days crooks com­mit­ted an aver­age of 448 bur­glar­ies, 65 rob­beries and 1,082 thefts.

The total num­ber of thefts over that fes­tive peri­od record­ed in Eng­land and Wales climbed from 5,524 in the finan­cial year 2015 to 2016 to 6,278 in 2016 – 17.

Rob­beries increased by 20 per cent from 770 in 2015 – 16 to 918 in 2016 – 17, Mean­while thefts were up 22 per cent to more than 15,000 over last year’s hol­i­day com­pared to 12,398 the previous.

Rather than warn­ing peo­ple after the event, when this year’s data becomes avail­able, we thought it would be bet­ter to remind peo­ple of the data from last Christ­mas, so that they can be bet­ter pre­pared.” A state­ment from VPS Secu­ri­ty explained. Prop­er­ties with­out secu­ri­ty are up to five times more like­ly to be affect­ed by these crimes, and vacant prop­er­ties in par­tic­u­lar are prime tar­gets for thieves and trespassers.” 

In addi­tion to the impact on both com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties, atten­tion is also focused on con­struc­tion sites, almost all of which are closed down and left unguard­ed over the fes­tive break. Accord­ing to the Char­tered Insti­tute of Build­ing, who pub­lished a guide to con­struc­tion site secu­ri­ty last month, 92% of con­struc­tion sites expe­ri­enced theft last year. 

VPS Secu­ri­ty rec­om­mend home­own­ers and ten­ants use the police​.uk web­site guide on crime pre­ven­tion, and for local author­i­ties, hous­ing asso­ci­a­tions, com­mer­cial, retail and facil­i­ties man­agers to at least seek a risk assess­ment of their vacant prop­er­ty port­fo­lio. Their own guide to Smart Tech­nol­o­gy also offers up-to-date infor­ma­tion on secu­ri­ty solu­tions above and beyond the deploy­ment of guards, able to be adapt­ed to cre­ate the best fit-for-pur­pose secu­ri­ty solu­tions for hous­ing and com­mer­cial units as well as for con­struc­tion sites. 

Chart showing rise in crime over Christmas