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Virtual reality crime scene launched to help residents beat burglars

West Midlands Police has launched a new virtual reality crime-fighting challenge aimed at switching residents on to home security tips to beat burglars.

Filmed in 360 degrees and viewable on VR devices, plus the force’s website, the immersive experience sees users play the role of a detective called to the scene of a burglary on 27 Station Road. 

Exploring the property uncovers clues about how the burglar broke in – and what the householder could have done to keep them out.

Click here to visit 27 Station Road and try your hand at crime fighting

Programmers worked with reformed burglar Michael Fraser – who’s appeared on BBC’s Beat the Burglar series – on the 27 Station Road game to make the challenge as realistic as possible and provide valuable crime prevention pointers.

He said: “27 Station Road is West Midlands Police’s first ever interactive crime scene and it could quite easily be your home.

“Burglars are opportunistic thieves, they’re looking for a weakness in your home security and they will take advantage. Anything you can do to secure your property and make it less attractive to the burglars is a real good thing.”

PC David Manning with reformed burglar Michael Fraser who helped create 27 Station Road
PC David Manning with reformed burglar Michael Fraser who helped create 27 Station Road

Home break-ins account for almost 10 per cent of total recorded crime in the West Midlands with an average of more than 50 homes a day broken into by thieves. 

The interactive VR house has been launched as the force anticipates a seasonal rise in burglary driven by the return of the region’s students and the approach of darker nights.

West Midlands Police’s Design Out Crime manager, Mark Silvester, said: “27 Station Road brings crime prevention advice to life. All too often our team is called on to give help and advice once the worst has happened. Exploring the site will help users review their own security and hopefully put measures in place to prevent a burglary happening. 

“Providing layers of security to protect your home is key. Using lighting, tested locks, certified windows and doors and installing and using a burglar alarm are all methods which, when used in combination, will help deter burglars.”

The 360 degree interactive house has been built using Sutton Coldfield based agency, WAA Chosen. 

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