Detective inspector Rob Hall: Let the net close in on burglars

A few years ago I remember a pair of brothers who carried out an armed robbery at a railway station in London. When they stole the money they also demanded the video from the CCTV cameras. They hadn't bothered to wear masks as these brothers always took the tape with them. It was what they always had done. The only thing was a few years had passed since their last robbery and having just been released from prison, technology had moved on and the footage was now digitally recorded and stored remotely. There was no video tape to take. Back they went to prison for another stretch.
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Home CCTV can be a very useful tool. It has increasingly come down in price and whereas these were out of most people’s range a few years ago, as technology moves on, small, inexpensive cameras can now be purchased that produce a really good image.

Just a few weeks ago I smiled as I stood in the Burglary Squad office watching one of the detectives playing some CCTV he’d just been handed by the victim of burglary. The burglary had happened in the early hours yet the picture was clear as day. There was the burglar, bold as brass, looking straight through the window of the house he was about to break into and, unbeknown to him, straight into the small security camera the homeowner had installed. By the time he smashed the window it was far too late – the footage had been stored remotely in ‘the Cloud’ and it wasn’t long before he was sitting in a cell in Thorpe Wood.

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And quite often it hasn’t even been the householder’s camera that caught the offender in the act, sometimes even the neighbour has caught them passing by. CCTV and cameras are a reality now and burglars don’t like them – they aren’t as 
obvious as they used to be and they don’t know when they might get caught in the act.

A quick trawl of the internet shows there are a wide range on sale both internal and external ones. I know burglars don’t like them and I know of burglars who are in prison now because of them. So if you do have one, make sure you know how it works and that it is switched on.

I know some insurance companies ask if you have CCTV installed when quoting for household insurance.

Whilst the number of burglaries in Peterborough is coming down, we can all still do our bit to beat the burglar and make them think twice.