Crime: The simple way to stop burglary

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The Crossley family have never felt so safe. Their council house is part of an experiment that has defeated burglars in a neighbourhood with one of the country's worst records for break-ins.

The message for the rest of the country is that if domestic crime prevention measures are followed to the letter then burglary by forced entry can be almost eliminated.

The Crossleys' home is one of about 300 houses that have had laminated windows and steel-framed doors installed as part of a pounds 31m refurbishment programme funded by Bradford Council which meets security standards set down by West Yorkshire Police.

After 12 months break-ins have almost been eliminated in an area which spans three council estates in Odsal, Bradford where the rate of burglaries at the start of the project was one in 15 homes.

"We can leave the house without worrying," said Steve Crossley, a father of four.

"I know my wife and children are safe when I leave them alone in the house. My neighbours, especially the older ones, are much happier. They can go out at night ... knowing their homes won't be smashed up. I have been burgled before and it's a dreadful feeling, it robs you of not just a television or video but your peace of mind."

Constable Steve Town, the crime prevention officer who launched the Bradford experiment, persuaded the council to incorporate the police force's domestic security standards and the results are an 82 per cent reduction in burglaries.