Spike in burglaries as crooks target City offices


Police have urged City businesses to be savvier with their security after a spate of break-ins last month saw burglaries in the Square Mile increase by 110%.

There were 38 burglaries reported to police in March, more than double that of February figures and the most of any one-month period over the year.

Fleet Street tops the charts as a City’s burglary hotspot, accounting for 4.5% of the offences, followed by Minories and King William Street.

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Fleet Street is a hotspot for opportunistic burglars.

Police are encouraging multi-occupancy commercial buildings in particular to be on high alert, as criminals will often target premises where they can steal from numerous offices in quick succession.

Officers are also advising staff to be wary of ‘tail-gaters’ trying to gain access through employee-only doors and entrances, and to be confident of challenging anyone they do not recognise.

“While the number of burglaries in the City is relatively low, premises still need to be on alert and regularly checking they have sufficient security measures in place,” said Detective Sergeant Jonathan Ball, of the City of London Police’s burglary team.

“Commercial offices often contain a large number of high-value items such as laptops, TVs and phones, meaning only one instance of burglary can cause a significant monetary loss to a business.

“While some of our crime prevention advice may seem obvious, it is essential businesses don’t become complacent. Things like regularly checking your CCTV cameras are functional and testing your security doors to check the magnets or locks haven’t worn can make a big difference.”

While the percentage of the total number of burglaries committed in Fleet Street has fallen year on year (5% down to 4.5%), it is in the Minories areas (4.6% down to 3.7%) that police efforts have had the biggest effect.

Statistics show that the total number of burglaries in the City increased from 262 in 2016/17 to 272 in 2017/18.

Thieves are also reportedly much more active when the City’s suits are clocking out for the weekend, with 5pm-6pm being the most likely time to strike, and Fridays representing the day of the week when crooks prefer to execute their plans.

“As a force we are committed to tackling burglary and theft; catching and prosecuting those responsible,” said DS Ball.

“It is important to us we create good relationships with our local business community and work with them to prevent these crimes from happening in the first place.”