Monday, 6 February 2012

Top tips to beat the burglars and their break-in wish list

Police are giving residents their top tips to protect their treasured possessions from burglars trying to tick off items on their ‘wish lists’, as part of a county wide crack down on house crime.

Crime reports show trends in certain types of property that are commonly stolen during break-ins, with items being selected because of their value or the ease with which they can be sold on.

“The thing at the top of a burglar’s wish list is an open door or window because it provides them with easy access to whatever you have inside your home," says Detective Constable Sean Burrell said.

"The most important tip of all is to make sure you lock your doors and windows both when you go out and when you are in, especially when you are in bed.

“However, the wish list also contains items that a burglar would hope to find inside your home and there are certain crime prevention measures that can be taken in order to prevent these items being stolen, or give you a better chance of getting them back if you are broken into and the items are later recovered by us.”

The warning comes as part of a major drive to reduce burglary across the county. Operation Julius will run until the end of March and is aimed at preventing crime, targeting criminals and detecting burglaries. Officers will use a range of overt and covert tactics during the crackdown to tackle suspected offenders - some of which may involve filming them to prevent burglaries.

Jewellery: High precious metal prices mean items such as necklaces, earrings and watches are desirable to burglars. Keep these valuables out of sight – don’t leave them on display on bedside tables or near windows. Take photos of valuable or sentimental pieces so that you can provide them to police if the items are stolen - this will make them easily identifiable to officers who are searching through stolen property.

Laptops, notebooks and tablets: Burglars love the latest technology – especially if it is portable. Store these things away once you have finished using them. Mark them with your postcode using a UV or marker pen.

You can also register items with a serial number at: www.immobilise.com, which creates a quick and easy list of your property in the event of a break-in.

Cash: Large amounts of money kept in your home provide an instant profit for burglars. Don’t store big wads of cash in your house– deposit it into your bank account.

Games consoles: There is a large second hand market for these – and the games that come with them – and some people have no scruples when it comes to buying stolen property. Mark them with your postcode and avoid leaving these items near windows for thieves to see.

Mobile phones: People can be careless with their phones, even though handsets can be expensive and therefore easy money for burglars. Record details of your electronic serial number (ESN) and consider separate insurances. Some phones have an IMEI number which is a unique identifier for the phone; you can obtain this number by typing *#06# (star hash 06 hash) into your mobile phone and it will display a 15 digit number. This can later be used to prove it is yours.

Car keys: Advanced security systems on cars can deter thieves so some burglaries are committed so that they can get their hands on keys. If possible, store your car in a locked garage at night. Keep keys in a safe place, away from doors, windows and letter boxes.

Sat navs: These items are more usually stolen from cars – so it is a good idea to remove temptation and bring them into your home when you have finished your journey. If you do leave your device in your vehicle, put it in the glove compartment so it cannot be seen and wipe away the tell-tale suction marks from the windscreen.

DC Sean Burrell added: “Most burglars are opportunistic so if they see something they like, or they think no one is home, they will try their luck. If you remove the opportunity you can prevent the burglary.”

• Visit www.lancashire.police.uk for further crime prevention tips. People can follow the police activity throughout the operation on Twitter @LancsPolice and on hashtag #OpJulius.

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