West Yorkshire's PCC and West Yorkshire Police launch spring burglary campaign (24 Mar 2016)

Burglary _spring _summer _2016_jpg _washing _xlAs the clocks go forward and we step into Spring, West Yorkshire Police is urging homeowners to protect their homes and not to be caught out by opportunistic thieves.

A new campaign launched today (24 March) is aimed at preventing people from becoming victims of burglary, especially now the days are getting longer and weather is improving, which leads people to leave windows open and doors unlocked whilst they are out in their gardens.

New figures reveal in the past year there were 13,536 burglaries across the county, with burglaries increasing over the summer and autumn months peaking at 279 in November.

Thirty per cent of burglaries happen when opportunistic thieves walk in through an unlocked front door and 26 per cent through unlocked or open windows. By following some simple steps residents can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a burglary victim.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams said: "One of West Yorkshire Police's key priorities is to reduce burglary across the county and we are launching this Spring campaign to show our continued commitment to bringing offenders to justice. A key part of this is reminding homeowners to be vigilant and make sure their homes are secure.

"Our Neighbourhood Policing Teams are dedicated to reducing the number of burglaries across West Yorkshire and urge communities to ensure their properties are secure and they are not at increased risk of being targeted by offenders. We would like to remind residents not to leave leys in the back of a locked door and ensure all valuable items are out of sight when they are not in use.

"Also we would encourage people to offer to keep an eye on a neighbour's home when they are on holiday by opening and closing blinds or curtains. Removing mail from the letterbox is another simple thing that prevents a burglar from identifying if a property is unoccupied."

Chris Joyce, Force Crime Prevention Officer, said: "The Spring and Summer months can often offer the perfect opportunity for thieves to target homes, as windows and doors are often left unlocked or open. We are urging homeowners to be mindful of leaving things unattended, especially when they are out in the garden or have friends over.

"You don't necessarily have to spend money on additional security - using what you already have and making changes to your routine around the home will go a long way. It's quite often the case that changing little things around your home can make a real difference and that certainly can apply to reducing the opportunity for burglary to occur.

"Some houses can have good quality locks, alarms and lighting available, but leaving doors or windows unlocked and valuables on show creates the perfect opportunity that a burglar might be looking for.

"Removing electronic items such as laptops and tablets and putting them completely out of sight - ensuring chargers for these items are in the drawer rather than plugged in and on show. Making sure doors are locked and the keys are removed from the locks, securing tools away in the garage or shed after use and using the security that is already in place are all things that are cost free and could assist in making properties less attractive to burglars."

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: "As Police and Crime Commissioner I speak to a lot of people who have been the victim of a burglary. It's a horrible experience for anyone and one that no one should have to suffer.

"I have made reducing burglary levels one of my key priorities and it is at the very heart of my Police and Crime Plan. I have also funded a number of crime prevention initiatives throughout West Yorkshire from the Safer Communities Fund made up from Proceeds of Crime.

"Prevention can be as easy as just locking your doors and windows to reduce any opportunity for a burglar to strike. The invasion of people's personal space and the theft of, all too often irreplaceable, belongings at the least is an experience that makes people feel extremely vulnerable."

Helpful crime prevention tips and more information about the campaign can also be found on the West Yorkshire Police website at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/burglary.

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019