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Home Security

Volume 407: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has to assist disadvantaged people in providing for home security in poorer areas; and if he will make a statement on measures to be taken when a home has been repeatedly burgled.[119573]

Under the Crime Reduction Programme, around 200 of the 250 reducing burglary projects involved some form of target hardening for houses that had been burgled or were otherwise considered vulnerable. The projects were all in areas with high burglary rates, which correlate closely with areas of deprivation. We also provided home security improvements to around 55,000 low income pensioners living in areas with burglary rates above the national average.The Crime Reduction Programme has now been replaced by the Building Safer Communities fund (BSC). BSC funding is mainly distributed directly to Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and it is open to individual Partnerships to introduce target hardening for disadvantaged people, if this accords with local priorities and after consultation with the regional Home Office Director. Reducing burglary is a priority for more than four-fifths of Partnerships and many are undertaking target hardening schemes.The Police Standards Unit has developed a model of best practice and a menu of tactical options for tackling repeat burglary. It includes such things as target hardening, fast-track processing of DNA, watch schemes (such as Neighbourhood Watch), installation of CCTV and alarms, high visibility patrolling (from police, community safety officers etc.) and better use of intelligence. It also includes a tool to allow household risks and requirements to be assessed. This is being tested in several forces prior to the results being more widely disseminated.The results of the British Crime Survey indicate that the risk of burglary is inversely related to the level of household security. Householders can, therefore, reduce their chances of being re-victimised by fitting and properly using good quality door and window locks; fencing and gates; alarms etc.