A POLICE operation to crack down on burglaries in West Oxfordshire using SelectaDNA as part of a combined package of crime reduction tools, has resulted in a 30% drop in crime overall.
Operation Jugular was launched by Thames Valley Police in July 2009 following an increase in burglaries, robberies and vehicle crimes. Between July and November 2009, the number of these reported crimes dropped to 175, from 229 during the same period the previous year.
The district of West Oxfordshire covers over 700 square kilometres and has a population of over 100,000.
Forensic marking product SelectaDNA is being given to repeat victims of burglary in rural villages and towns such as Woodstock, Burford, Chipping Norton, Charlbury, and Witney.
The DNA kits can be used to protectively mark any household valuables such as jewellery, electrical equipment, bikes and DIY tools. If a marked item is stolen and recovered by police it can be traced back to the owner via the DNA code.
Detective Sergeant Craig Kirby said: “Operation Jugular is a package of reduction and enforcement, which has been focusing particularly on burglary and auto crime. We have done a lot of work around preventing repeat victimisation. The message we have been trying to get across is property marking and to register electrical items.
“One of the difficulties is when we make arrests, we often uncover property we expect to be stolen, but if we cannot prove this, we have to return it, which is quite frustrating and reduces our opportunity to convict offenders.”
Det Sgt Kirby added: “We are extremely pleased with the results of this operation, which has involved many officers working hard to raise crime reduction awareness around burglary and theft in local communities.
“We’ve also been focusing on the importance of information we receive from residents in rural areas, who are more alert to strangers in their villages. We continue to ask them to report suspicious incidents and people to us.”
Bill Butcher, strategic crime prevention and reduction specialist for West Oxfordshire, said: “Operation Jugular is as much about making people aware of what they can do to reduce crime, such as marking property. It’s about doing things for themselves.”
Crime Falls Sharply In South Buckinghamshire
Meanwhile, in South Buckinghamshire, the number of vehicle crimes, burglaries and robberies has also fallen sharply over recent months, following a number of targeted operations which include the use of SelectaDNA by Thames Valley Police, South Bucks District Council, and other partners.
Latest figures show that the level of serious acquisitive crime has fallen by 20.6% over the past few months and is also well below the predicted level of offending for 2010. The fall contradicts fears that acquisitive crime, such as burglaries, would rise because of the recession.
SelectaDNA property marking kits are being given out to South Bucks residents in roads that have had more than one burglary over the past two years.
South Bucks District Councillor Shorne Tilbey, Portfolio Holder for Community, said: "Our residents repeatedly tell us that crime and fear of crime are very important factors affecting their quality of life.
“Working in partnership with the Police and others, the Council has put in place a strategy to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour which is now bearing fruit as evidenced by these latest statistics.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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