Revealed: Why people across the road don't get burgled

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House-hunters looking for the home of their dreams now have one more vital question to ask before they can start choosing the wallpaper - on which side of the road do the burglars operate?

House-hunters looking for the home of their dreams now have one more vital question to ask before they can start choosing the wallpaper - on which side of the road do the burglars operate?

New research shows that burglars tend to stick to one side of the street when breaking and entering. Once one property has been burgled, its neighbours on the same side of the road are at far greater risk than the houses opposite.

Experts at the University of Huddersfield spent months studying housebreaking statistics in Scotland and interviewing 32 persistent burglars in Scottish jails.

Their report, which will be published on Wednesday, says that once a house had been broken into there was an 80 per cent chance of further crime on the same side of the street.

Professor Ken Pease and Dr Mandy Shore, the authors of the report, called on police and local authorities yesterday to use the information to make communities safer.

Tayside police force, which helped with the research, has already used the findings to develop a new strategy to warn residents at risk. After a burglary, residents of the six nearest houses on the same side of the street are advised there is an increased chance of a break-in and warned to take extra crime-prevention measures.

The report found that burglars are too "lazy" to cross the road for a variety of reasons. The first time a house is picked it is usually because a burglar thinks he has the least chance of being caught. The reasons for that - poor lighting, easy access to the back garden - often apply to nearby houses on the same side of the road.

Once a house has been burgled, there is a greater chance of it being broken into again because the criminal knows his way around. Neighbouring houses may have the same layout, making them attractive targets for future break-ins.

Of course, this theory only works if there is one burglar per street. Another burglar may start on the other side.

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