BURGLARY rates in the run-up to Christmas were down 60 per cent in the Chiltern district compared to the previous year, new figures show.

A total of 32 burglaries were reported in the district from November 1-December 31 - down from 79 in the same period in 2012.

The figures show the overall number of house burglaries reported to Thames Valley Police since April 2013 has fallen by 14.5 per cent.

Cllr Isobel Darby,  Chiltern District Council's cabinet member for health and housing, said: "Being burgled is a horrible experience, often leaving victims deeply affected psychologically. We know Christmas is a prime period for house break-ins, therefore seeing the figures drop so significantly is extremely encouraging.

"I applaud the work being done to raise awareness and help people make their homes safer, but one home burgled is one too many as far as I am concerned. I urge the public not to drop their guard now. Remain vigilant and follow the advice all year round." 

The council said the reduction was down to neighbourhood police teams holding crime prevention awareness events and putting postcards through residents’ doors to highlight crime prevention measures to consider.

DI Ben Gasson of Thames Valley Police said:  "Preventing burglaries to residential properties and convicting those responsible is an absolute priority for police officers throughout the Chiltern District and surrounding areas of Thames Valley.

"As well as having  uniform officers working hard to deter offenders and reassure residents, dozens of detectives have been working tirelessly in the run up to Christmas, and of course beyond, in an effort to catch and convict those responsible. 

"I would encourage all residents to remain vigilant and to report any activity they believe to be suspicious to police, no matter how insignificant it may seem – such support is essential if we are to continue to reduce and solve this distressing crime."