Reports of burglary usually increase over the festive period, but in 2014/15, Dorset bucked a five year trend.
Officers are hoping that a combined effort between the police and the public will help combat Christmas burglary in the county, for a second year running.
In December 2014, there were 128 reports of dwelling (residential property) burglary compared to an average of 178 offences for the same month over the previous five years. This equates to two fewer victims of burglary per day throughout December.
In January 2015, Dorset Police received 87 reports of dwelling burglary. The five year average for the first month in the year is 168 offences, equating to three fewer victims per day for the month.
Although officers are pleased that there were fewer reports last Christmas compared to the previous five years, the public should still be wary of how their property and vehicles can be vulnerable to being burgled.
Every year, police forces across the country warn residents to remove valuable items from view and to lock windows and doors, but burglars still commit crime, which is why Dorset Police is stepping up its campaign to deter thieves and protect the public.
Officers from the Force’s Priority Crime Team (PCT) are working alongside colleagues from neighbourhood policing, Integrated Offender Management (IOM) and other specialist teams, to increase patrols in vulnerable areas, engage with known offenders and target handlers of stolen goods and reduce crime.
Thieves know that people buy more products over the festive season, especially electrical goods, so if they successfully gain entry into a property, they can walk away with hundreds of pounds worth of items in just a few seconds.
Detective Inspector (DI) Andy Dilworth, of Bournemouth’s Priority Crime Team is urging the public to make it difficult for burglars to be successful. He said: “Help us continue to reduce burglary offences in Dorset by making it hard for offenders to target and gain entry into your property.
“Simple crime prevention techniques, such as ensuring valuable and electrical items including tablets, laptops and mobile phones, are not left on display and locking windows and doors when you leave your property will help reduce the chance of you being burgled.
“When your property is empty, give the impression that it’s occupied, by using a light timer switch, drawing the curtains and cancelling milk and newspaper deliveries if you’re going away for a period of time.
“If you are visiting family and friends over the festive period, please let your neighbours and friends know, but don’t put it on social media, as this is an advertisement to burglars that your home is empty.”
Vehicles, as-well as residential property, are also susceptible to being targeted by thieves, if reasonable precautions aren’t taken.
DI Dilworth continued: “It only takes a few seconds for a criminal to decide whether to break-in to a vehicle, so don’t let it be you they target.
“Make sure you always remove bags, particularly Christmas shopping, from view when you’re parked up and remove satellite navigation devices, loose change, mobile phones from view and make sure the inside pockets of doors are clear.
“Don’t be complacent. If you see someone acting suspiciously in your area, please call us on 101 or if a crime is in progress, dial 999.
“If you have information about someone handling or receiving stolen goods and you don’t want to report it to the police, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, free and anonymously.
“Don’t let thieves ruin your Christmas.”
- Always keep your doors and windows shut and locked where possible, even if you’re in your property
- Use a light switch timer
- Keep shopping bags out of view, whether in the car or in the window of your house
- If you’re going away over the festive season, ask a friend or neighbour to park on your driveway and make sure any post is put through your letter box properly
- Cancel deliveries of milk newspapers or any other regular delivery items
- Fit a burglar alarm and make sure it’s set when property is unoccupied
- Do not leave car, door or window keys on view. Never leave keys within reach of a letterbox or a window
- Register valuable property at http://www.immobilise.com or keep an inventory including description, serial number and photograph of each item
- Ask your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme to keep an eye on your home while you are away