Unfortunately, the last couple of weeks have seen a series of house burglaries in both the Hart and Rushmoor district areas. Residents from other areas should be aware too, since the usual pattern for criminals is that they will commit crimes in some areas and when they know that both the public and the police are more aware, they will move onto other areas to avoid detection.
The recent series has been identified by the method used and from the type of item that have been stolen. Most of the incidents have happened during the day and some during a relatively short period of time. The homes targeted have been entered by the offenders going to the rear of the house and breaking glass, mainly patio windows.
The search for property within the homes has been quick, where the homes are left in an extremely untidy state and jewellery has been stolen. House burglaries, along with other crimes, saw a huge decrease during Covid-19 lockdown, where people were home. In addition, only necessary journeys were allowed, so any criminals driving about would be easily seen by police patrols or the public.
It was predicted that once the lockdown was eased that crime would rise again, which has happened. This has also coincided with the holiday season, where many people have been keen to get away after the prolonged period of restrictions.The summer holiday season has historically been a favoured period for criminals which is why it is important for residents to take extra precautions to leave their homes secure and for neighbours to keep an eye out.
For anyone thinking of going away or those who simply wish to better secure their homes, there are plenty of crime prevention measures that can be taken which will depend on your preference and budget. Hampshire Constabulary do not recommend or promote any particular security companies or equipment, therefore it is up to the individual to search the market and decide what works best for them.
Below is the general advice given by Hampshire Constabulary:
- Check your insurance documents for any specific security requirements or upgrades.
- Ensure side gates are locked to prevent access to the rear of the property.
- Ensure rear fencing is in good repair.
- Lock all windows and doors, remembering to double lock UPVC doors (lift handle and turn key)
- Keep all keys out of reach and sight from the letterbox (remember a device could be used to hook keys through letterbox).
- Do not leave ladders and garden tools in your garden, lock them away in your shed.
- Improve natural surveillance at the front of your property i.e. trim high hedges.
- Consider fitting security lighting and a burglar alarm.
- Mark your property with postcode and house number and register your property for free with www.immobilise.com
- Make use of timer switches to make the property appear occupied.
- Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property.
- Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
- Remove valuables from view of ground floor windows.
- Store any high value items (i.e. jewellery, passports) in a properly secured safe or bank vault.
People seeking a quick fix to their home security should consider simple, low cost measures, such as gravel pathways, fixing locks or bolts to gates and sheds or the purchase of outside lighting.
Timer switches are easy to obtain from most DIY shops or online and these assist with activating lamps when it gets dark, making it appear that someone is home.
As well as asking neighbours to keep an eye on your home, consider asking them to park a car on your drive too.
Prevention is the best cure, but for people who have become victims, the common finding during the investigation is that only a few people have pictures of jewellery or have items insured with an agreed value.
Although this current series relates to jewellery theft, other criminals will target electronic and computer items, so please consider registering yourself with Immobilise and listing items you have to include the make and serial number. This is important when suspected stolen property is recovered by police who will be able to confirm where it was stolen from – this helps with both the return of stolen items and the conviction of persons found in possession of it.
PC 1860 Mark Ranola.
Yateley Police Office.