Hertsmere detective pleas for residents to assist police in bid to stop burglaries
PUBLISHED: 09:23 06 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:27 06 October 2017
After an alarming amount of burglaries occurred in Hertsmere during Autumn last year officers are making extra effort to advise residents on how to avoid being targeted
Hertsmere Detective Inspector Graeme Walsingham states that if you’re in a rush to get to work, drop the children off at school or late for an appointment and you drive off, leaving your house all day without thinking about how it looks in the dark before you get home, it can make your home vulnerable to an opportunist thief.
DI Walsingham said: “As darkness begins to fall earlier in the day, especially after the clocks change, your home can look unoccupied, and more inviting for burglars, if there are no lights on.”
Last October there was a rise in burglaries across Hertsmere after over 20 burglaries took place each month during June, July, August and September. But in October, it rose to 44 burglaries.
DI Walsingham added: “To avoid this happening again this year, we have a burglary strategy in place which includes extra high-visibility police patrols as well as covert patrols in residential areas.
“We have made several arrests and are pursuing offenders who come into Hertsmere to commit burglaries.
“But crucially, we also need residents to do their bit to deter crime by giving their homes a ‘lived-in’ look and to let us know about anyone acting suspiciously.”
Det Insp Walsingham has spoken to dozens of offenders, some of whom have been on the Choices and Consequences project (C2), in which they admit all their offending and engage in a programme which addresses any addiction they may have, in exchange for a deferred sentence which means they do not go to prison as long as they commit no further offences.
A burglar, who received a custodial sentence for burglary, said: “I look for houses where it looks like no-one is in.
“I don’t want to be seen – there’s more chance of being caught and I don’t really want to scare people.
“I just want to get in and out as quickly as possible.
“If the lights are off when it’s dark in the daytime, no cars on the drive, maybe even letters hanging out of the letter box and curtains still drawn in the daytime, I’d give this one a go. They can stand out a mile.”
DI Walsingham added: “Consider installing a timer switch, ask a neighbour to park on your drive if you are away for a few days or on holiday and ask a neighbour to make sure your post is pushed properly through the letter box so it looks like someone is inside, collecting their post.
“Try to ensure parcels are not left on your doorstep by arranging for delivery when you are home, or they can be left with a neighbour.
“Offenders don’t like dogs so anything that gives them the impression that there is a dog at the address is a deterrent.
“Obviously doors should always be locked when you leave your house and close all the windows, preferable locked as well. Make sure your shed or garage is secure as well.”
He added: “It’s better for everyone if we can prevent the burglary in the first place.
“Although I take great pleasure in my teams arresting burglars, I would prefer residents to not have been a victim of crime in the first place.
“The thought of someone in your home can be very upsetting and some personal possessions with sentimental value are irreplaceable.
“Let’s work together to make burglars unwelcome in the district and please call 999 if you suspect a burglary is in progress.”
For further crime prevention advice, including a short video ‘Be Like Colin’, visit the ‘Protect Your Home – Beating Burglary’ page on www.herts.police.uk/crimeprevention