Latest Crime Figures for the West Midlands

The crime statistics for the second quarter of 2019 have been published and as expected, general crime rates have risen over the summer. There are a number of reasons for this increase, including temperature rises (all crime increases as the temperature goes up), people being out of the home for longer and more opportunities for casual thefts such as taking unattended property.

During May, June, July and August there were 13,816 burglaries, an increase of 1,605 on the precious quarter. Statistically, people tend to invest in security measures after a burglary has taken place and this is due in part to the fact that people with security measures in place don’t tend to be the targets of a burglary, and partly due to the fact that people assume they are safer than they are – it takes an incident of breaking and entering to make people realise almost anyone can be targeted. There are simple, no-cost measures you can take, including trimming back trees and shrubs which might provide cover for lurking thieves, and moving valuable items out of sight.

In order to make your home or business safer a working alarm system is perfect, but it must be set every time the premises is left vacant, even for 10 minutes, otherwise it is ineffective. Yes, the visual signs of a working alarm system like a clean alarm box can act as a deterrent, but determined burglars may still attempt a break in if they think the alarm hasn’t been set, or if they don’t notice the alarm box on the outside of the property. Additionally, if your home insurance policy is contingent on you setting the alarm you may not be able to make a claim if it is discovered that the alarm was not set.

Bike thefts increased over the summer months, with 888 incidents reported to police, up from 735 the previous quarter. Bike thefts are always expected to increase over these months, as more people are cycling than in the winter. During the summer holidays children leave their bikes unattended as they play outside and this is a significant reason for this increase; plus, they’re easy to sell on. Marking your bike with an invisible security pen can help your property be returned to you if it is found, but sadly many people don’t do this, or don’t have a photograph of their bike to give to police in the event of a theft. If you’ve given a bike as a Christmas present ensure you get a photograph of it and mark it with a security number or your postcode, so it can be identified and returned if it gets stolen.

Criminal damage and arson decreased slightly over the summer, with 8,218 reported incidents compared to 8,503 in the previous quarter. This is a relatively small decrease, but many of these crimes are not easily preventable. The reasons for damaging property or setting fire to it vary from it being an act of revenge to simple boredom and the influence of alcohol – some people find it amusing to destroy property and it’s hard to stop this from happening. Many of these crimes happen overnight, so in order to catch the perpetrators a working CCTV system is vital. This kind of evidence can help identify the criminals and secure a conviction, so if you’re at all concerned about this type of crime give us a call to find out about installing a CCTV system, or to find out about how a fire-brigade response fire alarm can help mitigate the damage of an arson attack.

Vehicle theft was down slightly on the first four months of the year, with 10,442 reports made to police, a drop of 1,118. Vehicle theft is preventable by parking in a secure, well lit area and ensuring any keyless entry systems are protected by keeping the keys well away from the front door, or in a protective case, which blocks the signals. Keeping valuables out of sight also helps reduce the chance of your vehicle being stolen or damaged; an alarm or immobiliser will also help prevent theft and scare off any potential thieves when the alarm sounds. Having CCTV outside your home covering the driveway also helps deter would-be vehicle thieves and provides evidence for the police if a theft does occur.

Shoplifting was also surprisingly lower over the summer, with 5581 cases reported compared to 6,181 the previous quarter. CCTV can help with preventing shoplifting and identifying perpetrators, and having in-store security can also help make a big difference. Thinking about the layout of your store and the location of your most valuable stock can help, as it reduces the opportunities for shoplifters to work undetected.

If you’re concerned about your home or business security, or just want to ensure your precautions are still up to date then call us today for a chat and we can take it from there.