Message sent by Amy Crowfoot (Dorset Police, Communications and Engagement Department, Dorset)
A reformed burglar who has spent 18 years in prison for committing various offences is helping Dorset Police inform local residents on how to avoid being burgled.
Ex-prolific offender Martin Olive has convictions for burglary and breaking into vehicles and other offences. The 46-year-old has now stepped away from committing crime and is working with the police to tell residents what steps they can take to avoid falling victim to burglary.
Martin said: “When I was in an area, I used to walk around for two or three weeks before I did anything.
“People leave keys hanging out the front door when they come back from the pub and people generally leave their doors unlocked. Somebody like me might just pop over the fence and try doors just to see if they are open.
“Don’t leave your keys too close to your letterbox, put thick net curtains up and install and use security lights and alarm systems. Not everyone uses them and some people don’t even bother to switch them on.”
Detective Sergeant Mark White, of Bournemouth CID, said: “Martin has voluntarily given his account of what he used to look for when he committed his crimes, which will hopefully make people think twice about their home security and prevent burglars from targeting their home.
“As well as following Martin’s tips, I suggest people remove items including spades, ladders, loose bricks and anything else which offenders can use to break into your home. We are experiencing a number of crimes at the moment in which offenders use this method of entry, particularly in Southbourne and in East Dorset.”
Martin is part of the Dorset Police Integrated Offender Management (IOM) programme which is a multi-agency approach to provide early intervention and ongoing support and guidance to help deter people from reoffending. The IOM team consist of police, the probation service, prison services and drug, alcohol, health and housing partners, who work together to identify and manage prolific offenders who commit thefts, burglary and public order offences and otherwise cause harm to our communities.
Detective Sergeant Mark White said: “Martin has been actively engaging with the IOM team for several months.
“The IOM programme is beneficial for the individual concerned as well as the community, as Martin’s case has shown.
“We’d like to thank Martin for sharing his story for the benefit of others. He is clearly making the extra effort to lead a normal life and we consider him to be an IOM success story.
“We’re really pleased that Martin has turned around for the better and he is looking ahead to a positive future.”
Martin feels that he’s on the right track now. He said: “I don’t want my son to be embarrassed for who I was then. I work now – I’m fully employed. I take a wage home, pay my rent and pay my bills. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t like someone to come into my home and take things that I work for and live for.
“I’ve hurt so many people in my life, even though I don’t personally know them.
“If I could make right my wrongs, I would very happily do so. I think I’m doing the right thing; I think everything’s going the right way.”
Watch Martin’s story here.
CRIME PREVENTION ADVICE
- 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 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 and newspapers or any other regular delivery items
- Fit a burglar alarm and make sure it’s set when your 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