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Safer Streets/ Acquisitive Crime

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What is Acquisitive Crime?

Acquisitive Crime “is a criminal offence, such as theft, aimed at acquiring property for the offender” (Oxford Dictionary of Law Enforcement, 2007). It is often described as “volume crime” that is “any crime which, through its sheer volume, has a significant impact on the community and the ability of the local police to tackle it and includes priority crimes such as street robbery, burglary and vehicle-related criminality” (College of Policing).

Lower level acquisitive crime includes shoplifting. People with a drug addiction commit 45% of acquisitive crime (excluding fraud) according to the Home Office, who are expanding the use of GPS electronic tags for acquisitive offenders under the Beating Crime Plan. The expansion of Integrated Offender Management into Neighbourhood crime aims to address persistent acquisitive criminals who make communities unsafe (see Integrated Offender Management). Safer Streets is a series of community safety projects designed to crack down on neighbourhood crimes like burglary, vehicle theft and robbery.

Catalytic converter theft Gone in 60 Seconds

Organised Acquisitive Crime (OAC) exists where Organised Criminal Groups concentrate their offending into areas which offer the greatest profit. This includes metal and catalytic converter theft, car key burglaries, as well as transit robberies and attacks of ATMs. According to the National Crime Agency, who saw a reduction of such crime during the Covid-19 pandemic, “OAC focusses on high harm and cross border strands of vehicle crime, robbery, burglary, and heritage and cultural property crime” (National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organised Crime 2021).

Organised Criminal Groups may also be involved in acquisitive criminal activity through the criminal exploitation of vulnerable people (see Modern Slavery and Exploitation), such as forced begging and forced theft (including shoplifting and pickpocketing).

Useful Links

Burglary prevention toolkit (Neighbourhood Watch) 

View the Toolkit

Car crime prevention advice (Neighbourhood Watch) 

Read the Advice

College of Policing Safer Streets toolkit

View the Toolkit

Immobilise The National Property Register

NCA Criminal Exploitation Guidance for Local Government

Read the Guidance

Opal is a national intelligence unit focused on serious organised acquisitive crime (SOAC) where there is a series of offences impacting on two or more police force areas. 

Visit the Website

Police Crime Prevention Security Guide:

Safer Places – The Planning System and Crime Prevention (Home Office)

Visit the Website

Help and Support

For victims, families and concerned people

If you’ve witnessed or been the victim of crime, please report it to the Police. Call 101 or report it online depending on your region within Wales – South Wales Police, Dyfed Powys Police, Gwent Police or North Wales Police. In an emergency, call 999.

If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, use the Police textphone service 18000 or text on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service.

If you have information about crime and wish to remain anonymous, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.

If you’ve been affected by crime, you can access support from Victim Support, including via their free 24/7 national support line 08 08 16 89 111, or get support online.

You may wish to consider joining Neighbourhood Watch, or other police supported initiatives such as OWL – Online Watch Link.

For more specialist help and support, visit the Topics sections of our website.