Winter crime wave in Hampstead Garden Suburb

Susanna Wilkey

Chief Reporter

AS the nights close in and the festive season approaches, a spate of burglaries has hit homes in Hampstead Garden Suburb.

Residents say a wave of burglaries has flooded the area over the past few weeks, some while people have been in their houses asleep upstairs.

Police confirmed there has been a 34 per cent rise in the number of burglaries this year and a sharp increase in November, which usually happens around this time of year but could also be put down to the worsening economic times.

Saul Zadka, who lives on Holyoake Walk, said: “I personally know four families who have been burgled, some of them while they were sleeping upstairs. And there were at least half a dozen cases in one week recently that I know of. I went to a meeting with police officers who came to offer advice.

“They told me that it is a gang and it is typical for this time of year. Burglary is on the rise all over Hampstead Garden Suburb.

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“The police say we should get alarm systems and lock ourselves in. This affects many people and it is really scary that you can be burgled while you are sleeping in the house or when you take your child to school, walk back home 15 minutes later and find you have been burgled. I know someone who was burgled at 7am while she was upstairs and another at 7pm. I am sure people are being followed.”

Toby Whitewood, a PCSO in the Hampstead Garden Suburb Safer Neighbourhood Team, said the whole of Barnet has noticed an increase in burglary and the police are setting up operations to deal with the problem.

“We are visiting the victims of the burglaries as soon as we can and offering advice,” he said. “We are aware of the increase and with Christmas coming up it is becoming more prevalent.

“Burglaries are more prevalent at this time of year as the nights get darker. Also, the credit crunch is encouraging more burglars to steal. The times are getting harder and they are committing more crime to fund their habits.

“It is all over Barnet, probably all over London. We are advising people to get burglar alarms, make sure they lock their doors and get security lights. We also give out crime prevention leaflets.”

A spokesman for Barnet Police said there is usually a noticable increase at this time of year because burglars can easily see who is not in and who has not yet come home from work.