Fewer break-ins down to the cold weather - police

The old radar station at Fraser Range, Eastney Picture: Shaun Roster

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BURGLARIES plummeted during the recent cold snap as arctic conditions kept thieves indoors.

Snow, freezing temperatures and treacherous conditions contributed to a huge drop in house burglaries committed in December.

Police received reports of 64 homes being broken into in Portsmouth in the period – down 30 per cent from the 92 reported in December 2009.

In total the number of burglaries reported in December has more than halved in the last two years from the 166 reported in December 2008.

Figures for the central policing area – covering Fareham, Gosport, Havant and Winchester – have not yet been finalised. However they are also expected to show a drop. Police put the success down to factors including the bad weather in December.

Detective Sergeant Tony Lewis said: ‘A lot of messages went out over the Christmas period and hopefully that made people think twice about leaving their valuable presents on view or leaving doors and windows open.

‘At one home in Southsea, which was targeted by a burglar in December, a good strong lock prevented the intruder from getting into the home.

‘It’s fair to say the cold weather and snow we had during this time would have made a difference as well.

‘It makes potential burglars think twice about leaving their own homes.’

Portsmouth has a team of detectives and police constables dedicated to investigating burglaries in the city.

All told, reports of the crime between April and December have fallen by six per cent year-on-year between April and December, from 735 to 688.

And more prolific burglars are being locked up due to forensic evidence such as footprints and DNA left at crime scenes being fast-tracked.

Det Sgt Lewis added: ‘We all appreciate how devastating it can be for the victims of burglary. It’s upsetting to think that someone’s been in your house or flat with the intention of stealing your property.

‘That’s why we invest a lot of resources into investigating these crimes. It’s very much offender-driven.

‘We locked up at least 10 prolific burglars in the last few months of 2010 by fast-tracking forensics and looking to have them remanded in custody at the charge stage.’