This in from the police, in their own words. Ed
With three weeks to go to Christmas residents should be looking forward to the celebrations of the festive season and not becoming victims of crime. This week ACPO’s burglary campaign is focusing on protecting people from burglars who target homes at this time of year.
Nationally, and in particular across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, burglary has fallen. Residents are now three times less likely to be a victim of burglary than in 1995.
The stats on burglaries
Since April 1, 2012 to December 2, 2012 there has been 2,534 burglaries across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight; this compares to 3512 in the same period in 2011 which is a 24.9 per cent reduction.
However, in previous years there has been a spike in this crime around the festive period, so it is important that people take simple precautions to protect themselves and their belongings.
Burglars look for visible opportunities
In the run up to Christmas, burglars are often looking out for visible opportunities where they can take advantage, such as presents under the Christmas tree, homes that look unoccupied, packaging on display or old goods left by bins – suggesting new replacements are inside.
As market conditions have changed, the items most desired by burglars have also altered. Jewellery, cash and high value items that can be readily sold onto others are now more desirable than bulkier items that have little resale value. Smartphones, laptops, tablet computers and e-readers are all expected to sell well this December; their size and high value mean that they are also items on burglars’ Christmas lists.
Anyone can become a victim of burglary but poor home security is the factor that makes people most vulnerable. Analysis of the Crime Survey 2009/2010 found that households without window locks and dead locks on outside doors were six times more likely to be burgled than those with these security fittings.
Secure property properly and remove high value items from view
Hampshire Constabulary’s DCI Darren O’Callaghan said, “Burglary is a horrible crime which often leaves the victim feeling scared and vulnerable in their own homes. If stolen items are not insured the financial loss of a burglary can also increase the emotional strain. A burglary over the Christmas period would almost certainly perpetuate the impact of this crime.
“Burglars show a blatant disregard and lack of respect for people’s privacy or possessions by deciding to invade homes and steal. Hampshire Constabulary is able to call upon a wide range of experience and expertise to disrupt and detect any burglar, and bring suspects before the courts to face justice. As a force we have worked hard to tackle burglary and this is evident by the fact that the number of burglaries has decreased year on year since 2009.
“This year we want to make sure people are aware that the most effective way to prevent becoming a victim of burglary is simple: secure property properly and remove high value items from view. Follow the tips below to keep your home safe and secure this Christmas.
“Our officers are also available to give advice on a range of crime prevention techniques and technology. For more information, phone police on 101 or go to our website: www.hampshire.police.uk.”
- Don’t leave presents under the tree, particularly if visible from windows or doors.
- Make use of the free and secure registration websites, such as www.immobilise.com, to register items of value such as I.T., mobile phones, cycles, electrical items such as TV’s, Games Consoles etc
- Dispose of present packaging carefully as empty boxes left outside can advertise that you have new and desirable goods inside your home.
- Never keep large amounts of cash at home.
- Ensure that all doors and windows are locked – use a dead or double lock on outside doors
- Lock up sheds and garages so thieves cannot gain access to ladders and tools which they could use to gain access to your home.
- Never leave keys anywhere near the front door; burglars know where to look.
- When you go out at night, consider leaving the lights on with curtains drawn so it looks like someone is home.
- Visit www.securedbydesign.com for police approved security products.
What to do if broken into
If you do arrive home and notice signs of a break-in:
- Don’t go in or call out – the intruder could still be inside.
- Go to a neighbour’s to call the police.
- Don’t touch anything or tidy up.