StreetSafe Blog

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Don’t let thieves spoil your Christmas

Posted by StreetSafe on December 1, 2010

Cumbria Constabulary has launched a countywide campaign to reduce burglary and theft in the lead up to Christmas.

As the number of burglaries traditionally rise in the lead up to Christmas and in light of the reduction of burglaries in Cumbria this year, Cumbria Constabulary and partner agencies are stepping up their efforts to deter offenders and raise awareness of the steps that residents should take to protect their homes and Christmas presents over the holiday period.

There were 74 less victims that had their homes targeted by burglars in Cumbria between April and October 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, which equates to a 15 per cent decrease. There was also a 19 per cent reduction in burglaries that occurred at business properties, sheds, outhouses and caravans with 205 fewer offences recorded during the same period.

To build on this success and help to protect residents from becoming victims of crime, a month-long awareness raising campaign begins today across the county.

In South Cumbria, its launch is being marked by a large scale multi-agency Streetsafe in South Cumbria that will see around 40 personnel from police, community volunteers and partner agencies take to Risedale Road, Gloucester Street and Worcester Street to hand out top crime prevention tips and offer free assessments on existing home security to around 300 homes.

The event is set to take place today, Wednesday 1 December, between 3pm-7pm and will target the Salthouse area that statistically suffers the highest numbers of burglaries in Barrow. 95 burglaries were reported to officers in this area from 1 December 2009 – 30 November 2010, which is markedly higher than other neighbourhoods in Barrow. Of the 95 burglaries reported to police, approximately 50 per cent occurred at insecure premises.

Over the course of the Streetsafe event, the group will be offering a combination of advice on crime prevention, property security marking, fire safety, free smoke detector fittings, graffiti removal, and offering specialist advice on health and community participation.

In North Cumbria, Neighbourhood policing teams and special constables will be conducting door-to-door property marking events over the coming weeks to give local residents access to the tools and equipment they need – right on their doorsteps.
They will also be promoting the use of a website, http://www.immobilise.com that allows anybody to register their property online free of charge. The site records items’ unique identification or serial numbers which gets fed into the Police national property database that is used by all UK Police forces to help trace owners of lost and stolen property.

In West Cumbria, a targeted policing operation in North Allerdale will continue following a rise in shed and outhouse burglaries. After 15 burglaries were reported to police in the area between 1-23 November, police officers have stepped up their patrols to provide a 24 hour presence in the most vulnerable areas across Aspatria, Silloth and Wigton. Since the operation was launched on 24 November 2010, eight people have been arrested and police have recovered £1,700 worth of stolen property. Since the operation began, no further burglaries have been reported in the area.

Officers are working in conjunction with partner agencies on the West Cumbria Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership to provide crime prevention tools to those who need it most. House and shed alarms have been bought by Age Concern UK to offer to residents at a reduced rate that can be bought from all Age Concern outlets in West Cumbria.

Assistant Chief Constable Michelle Skeer said: “Tackling burglary is something that we can only do together as a county, and thanks to the hard work that has gone on between police, partner agencies and members of the public, we have reduced the number of people who became a victim of burglary in Cumbria this year.

“On average there are only two burglaries committed in Cumbrian homes each day which makes our county one of the safest in the UK. This is a real success but even one burglary means there is one victim too many.

“We don’t want people to get complacent or lax with their home security. It is a fact that burglary and theft traditionally rise throughout December as opportunist thieves try to get their hands on expensive Christmas presents.

“We are committed to ensuring that this doesn’t happen this year and in addition to strengthening police patrols in our neighbourhoods to reassure residents and deter thieves, there will be local initiatives ongoing to provide communities with all the tools, equipment and information they need to keep themselves and their property secure this Christmas.

“Thieves can target houses with Christmas presents on view so we would urge everyone to be vigilant – don’t let a thief spoil your Christmas.

“Crime prevention leaflets and credit card sized ‘top tips’ will be handed out by officers on the streets who will also be visiting schools and local businesses to offer crime prevention advice, hand out personal safety tips and offer any advice to people who may need it.”

Police offer the following top tips to keep your house safe:

– Keep gifts, cash & valuables safe & well hidden so they can’t be seen or reached by thieves
– Lock doors & windows before you go out, removing keys from locks & keep them out of reach
– Leave a light on in a room & draw curtains when you go out at night
– Postcode your valuables with a UV pen, considering registering them on http://www.immobilise.com
– Cancel newspapers, milk etc when you go on holiday
– Look out for your neighbours property
– Make sure callers to your home are genuine, always ask for ID

Posters and leaflets with crime prevention messages will be issued to all Neighbourhood Watch and Farmwatch members across the county. Allerdale District Council, Carlisle City Council, Barrow Borough Council, Barrow and Eden CDRPs and Carlisle libraries have also received the material which will be displayed on their Intranet sites and some social networking sites.

For more information or advice on home security, or to report any suspicious activity to a police officer please contact a member of your local policing team on 0845 33 00 247. If you witness a crime in action, always dial 999.

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