Burglaries down by HALF and 3,800 fewer victims in three years since Northamptonshire Police launched Operation Crooked

Op crooked has been in the county for three years

Thursday, 28th April 2022, 6:00 am

Police say they’re not done yet after burglaries fell by more than HALF in three years since a team was launched to tackle break-ins.

Reducing burglary has been a focus for Northamptonshire’s Chief Constable Nick Adderley since he joined the force in 2018.

Operation Crooked, launched the following year, and has seen:

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Crooks (clockwise from top left) Gavin Appleyard, Lee McQuade, Stacey Barlow and Jermaine Lewis are among those put behind bars by head of crime DI Emma James and her team

■ Home invasions fall by 50.9 percent county-wide

■ Commercial burglaries plummet 59.2 percent

■ 3,800 fewer victims

■ Prolific offenders sent to jail

■ Victim satisfaction rates soar to 79 percent, second highest in the force just behind domestic abuse

Head of Crime, Detective Superintendent Emma James’ message to would-be burglars is: “We have made Northamptonshire a hostile place for you and our detectives remain dedicated to catching you and putting you behind bars.”

As part of the operation, two burglary teams covering the north and west of the county, sit within CID and ensure every victim gets a visit from the police.

In the past three years, the team has worked on driving up the quality of investigations, managing and progressing forensic hits more quickly, hunting down wanted people, organising patrols in areas of concern and gathering intelligence to prevent burglaries before they happen.

Since Operation Crooked began, hundreds have been arrested with some notable convictions secured.

DI James added: “Our teams have gone from strength to strength with a real passion to tackle burglary and put offenders behind bars.

“Burglary is often underestimated 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.

“Finally, let me be clear that whilst a 50 percent 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.”

Recent court cases have included:

■ 43-year-old Gavin Appleyard, jailed for two years, eight months after breaking into a Kettering home.

■ Jermaine Lewis, 40, and 41-year-old Stacey Barlow, jailed for 34 months apiece after smashing their way into a house in Kingsthorpe while the occupant was upstairs in bed.

■ Lee John Floyd McQuade, aged 36, sentenced to two-and-a-half years for stealing a £1,000 Cartier watch and three electric bikes during a break-in.

Falls in the number of crimes committed equates to 3,799 fewer victims.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold said: “When I was first elected, one of the areas people told me they wanted to see addressed was 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. 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. Operation Crooked and the two burglary teams in CID are meeting that challenge.

“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.”

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