A POLICE operation to tackle burglary has made a major dent in the number of house break-ins across the county.

After its first 10 months, Essex Police’s Operation Insight has seen house burglaries reduce by 9.8 per cent.

The latest figures, covering July, show house burglaries were down 21 per cent to 513, compared to July 2013 which saw 653 incidents.

It is the lowest monthly figure since July 2011 - when 498 house burglaries were recorded for the month.

Since Operation Insight launched last October, house burglaries have dropped by 9.8 per cent or 662 when comparing numbers from October 2013 to July 2014 compared to the previous year.

Operation Insight uses predictive policing and intelligence analysis to target the force’s resources at areas which this information suggests are most at risk of burglary.

Chief constable Stephen Kavanagh said: "These figures are excellent news and highlight the importance of Operation Insight.

"There is so much value in all the work being carried out to combat burglars – patrolling our key risk zones, prompt arrests, effective allocation of calls, cocooning around burglary locations, good crime-scene management and offender management - and the results are clearly showing.”

Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston said: "We can all help prevent burglaries happening by taking sensible precautions to secure our homes and businesses but, when burglaries do occur, I expect Essex Police to do all they can to bring those responsible to justice.

"I am delighted Essex Police has implemented an innovative, science-based, professional policing operation to tackle burglary, which has led to a decrease of almost 10 per cent in house burglaries since October 2013.”

Essex Police is continuing to evaluate its predictive policing techniques, and adapting its tactics for more built up urban areas and sparsely-populated rural areas.

How Operation Insight works

Operation Insight makes use of predictive policing to help direct police resources to where they can have the greatest impact on burglary.

Intelligence analysis allows the force to identify where future burglaries are most likely to occur and a range of tactics are then used to prevent them from happening.

The approach is based on a behavioural characteristic known as ‘optimal foraging’ - that criminals will operate in a locality which they know very well and where they have successfully committed crimes before.

This analysis is used to plot circles on a map which represent the greatest risk of where a burglary will occur.

Deployments are concentrated in the areas which are ranked as higher or hyper-risk areas.

The Insight model also provides information on key offenders who reside in that locality, enriching officers’ knowledge and providing them with the information they need to effectively police that area.

Mapping systems show these priority zones and police resources can be moved into the zones or simply informed of them when they are in the locality.