PC 1860 Mark Ranola
10th December 2021
Burglaries – a period of increased police action.
Burglary has always been and will remain one of the most serious crimes because a victim`s home, which is their place of safety, has been entered by a stranger and personal belongings stolen.
Because of this, Hampshire Constabulary prioritise resources to respond to reports of a burglary and any subsequent investigation. This includes supporting victims too.
During December to coincide with the approach of the Christmas festival, there will be a force-wide concentration in our efforts to solve outstanding burglary crimes, bring offenders to justice, and engage with the communities of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to protect homes.
This pro-active period is not due to a rise in burglaries; in fact, this year the number of reported burglaries are down on figures for 2020, but we know there are times throughout the year where the risk of burglary increases and crime statistics aside, any victim of a house burglary will testify to the significant harm this has on them, so working with communities to prevent crime is what really matters.
Many readers will recognise what is meant by `high value gold burglaries’ from my previous articles. There is no increase in burglaries where criminals steal jewellery from homes belonging to Asian families, but there have been some recent crimes of this type in Hart and Rushmoor.
The Christmas period provides opportunities for criminals. They know people will have gifts stored, many of which are desirable to steal to sell on, either to fund a drug habit or organised criminal groups. They also know that people leave their homes to visit friends and family and can spot tell-tale signs that indicate the absence of a resident. It is these factors that are in control to some extent, so awareness and effective crime prevention will keep people safe, whilst shutting down opportunities for criminals.
By the time you read this article, some people will have noticed an increase in police presence in some areas where there have been recent crimes. Some will have noticed messages sent via the various social media and other media outlets, letting you know where crime has occurred, what positive action and results have followed, and crime prevention. This is to reassure residents and to promote the reporting of crime or any suspicious activity, which will quickly be passed to dedicated response officers to maximise the chances of catching criminals and detecting crime. If you think a crime is happening or might be, please dial 999.
There are bespoke plans for different areas to reflect what is specifically happening in each, but increased police presence and communication will be Force wide.
The community, as always, are our eyes and ears, for which we are fortunate and grateful to have the people we serve working together with us. Information is very important and providing it is not an emergency, you can either report directly through 101 or our website (https://www.hampshire.police.uk) Alternatively, you can report anonymously through the national charity, Crimestoppers (https://crimestoppers-uk.org) or 0800 555 111.
You can also sign up to the community messaging system, Hampshire Alert (https://www.hampshirealert.co.uk) to find out what is happening in your area.
There’s lots of things you can do around Christmas to keep your home safe, from turning on timer switches and leaving a light on to make your home appear to be occupied when you’re out, to making sure presents aren’t on display through your windows to opportunistic burglars. Also consider how you dispose of the packaging of high value items so that you’re not advertising your presents to passers-by.
Help protect your home and property by following some simple steps:
- Lock all windows and doors, remembering to double lock UPVC doors by lifting the handle and turning the key. Remove keys from the window and door lock and keep in a safe place out of reach and sight from the letterbox or windows.
- Remove valuables from view of ground floor windows. Register your property for free on www.immobilise.com
- Ensure side and back gates are locked to prevent access to the rear of the property. Also, make sure sheds and garages are locked with reliable and robust locks to deter any potential burglars. Choose a product which is tested and certified by Sold Secure and Secured by Design to the Police Preferred Specification.
- Do not leave ladders and garden tools in your garden; lock them away in your shed. Improve natural surveillance to the front of your property by trimming hedges.
- Consider installing an intruder alarm system by contacting an approved contractor who is a member of the National Security Inspectorate and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board.
- A house that appears occupied is less likely to be targeted by burglars, installing light switch timers inside the house can help make it appear occupied. Likewise, dusk to dawn or sensor lighting to the front and rear of your home can help deter potential thieves
Here are some other tips that can help to keep your home secure:
- Add as many layers of security to make accessing your home more difficult. This could include installing CCTV or video doorbells – which can then be used for evidential purposes in the event of a crime.
- A house that appears occupied is less likely to be targeted by burglars, installing light switch timers inside the house can help make it appear occupied. Likewise, dusk to dawn or sensor lighting to the front and rear of your home can help deter potential thieves.
- Keep high value, easily portable jewellery and equipment from being visible through a window, and don’t forget to register them at com
For info on how to protect your home visit: https://www.hampshire.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/protect-home-crime/
For further prevention measures visit the websites below:
- Locks, window, door and garage security: Home Security Advice – Top 18 Quick Tips | Master Locksmiths Association.
- Burglar alarms: make sure you use an approved installer from nsi.org.uk/your-home/
- Guidance relating to domestic CCTV systems: https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/domestic-cctv-systems-guidance-for-people-using-cctv/
Home security is a personal choice and you budget will determine your decision to some extent, but you will know from my advice over the years, simple is effective, so at the very least, do have a security light, leave lights on when out and if you are away for a few days, ask a neighbour to park their car on your driveway.
Finally, I want to end with an important and reassuring message, because articles about crime can worry some people:
Residents, our business community, and people visiting Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are in one of the safest areas in the UK. Nonetheless, we are in this position due to the trust and togetherness built over decades, therefore continued collective efforts will mean we remain safe.
Dhanyabad. Enjoy the festive season with family, friends, and loved ones. Stay safe and look out for one another.
PC 1860 Mark Ranola.
Yateley Police Station.