Avon and Somerset Police is asking people to take action to protect their homes against burglary when houses are empty over the holidays, and doors and windows are left open in warmer weather.
Around one third of burglaries in the force area are opportunistic ‘walk in’, where the burglar gets in through an unlocked door or open window. So Avon and Somerset Police is launching a new campaign called Be HomeSafe to remind us all to ‘hide valuables, shut windows and lock doors. Don’t make it easy for burglars’.
The campaign is supported by new research which provides an insight into burglar behaviour. The International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology, University of Portsmouth2 worked with 33 burglars in HMP Bristol and found burglars:
- commonly used a rear, more secluded route to get in
- spent most time in bedrooms where smaller, more lucrative items are expected to be found
- stole small electrical items (video cameras, digital cameras, tablets, iphones and small, high value goods such as wallets and a briefcase)
Detective Superintendent Carolyn Belafonte said: ‘Being a victim of burglary is horrible. It’s not just the stuff that is stolen, it’s the emotional and psychological impact a burglary can have and the loss of irreplaceable sentimental items, photographs and things that you’ve saved really hard for.
‘We know that often people don’t secure their homes because of the misplaced belief that ‘it won’t happen to me’. But this message straight from the mouths of burglars gives clear advice about the simple steps we all need to take to protect our homes over the summer.
‘We are asking our communities to do everything possible to protect their homes and property so we can help those who need us most and work tirelessly to bring offenders to justice.’
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: ‘Many burglary victims have shared with me how disruptive and upsetting this crime is. Being burgled means more than the inconvenience of an insurance claim and has the potential to ruin your summer.
‘Around 30 per cent of all burglaries could have been avoided, because burglars got in through open windows, unsecured sheds or unlocked doors. I am keen that together, we all do what we can to avoid opportunist thieves.
‘It is important that everyone across Avon and Somerset is safe and feels safe in their homes knowing their property is secure, during the summer months and all year round.’
Dr Claire Nee, Reader in Forensic Psychology, University of Portsmouth who led the research said: ‘Our research can actually teach householders to think a little more like burglars so that they can reduce the opportunity for burglaries. Burglars really don’t want to meet you - so over the summer fake occupancy if you can - for example ask a trusted neighbour to pop in and turn your lights on at night. In our research over 50% of burglars got in through an open door or window so make sure you shut and lock doors at all times.’
To stay safe this summer follow these simple steps to protect your home
- Don’t store jewellery, money, sentimental items and things you’ve saved up for in bedroom drawers
- Lock away tablets, mobile phones, wallets and cards
- Close front windows when you’re in the garden or not in the room
- Close all windows when you leave the house
- Install a 5 point mortice lock your doors
- Ensure you have locks on all windows
- Use automatic timer switches for lights
- Don’t leave bins and recycling boxes outside
- Ask trusted neighbours to keep a look out, turn lights on at night and park on your driveway
- Avoid discussing holiday plans on public social media
Posted on Friday 28th July 2017