This week a high-ranking police officer from Leicestershire constabulary came under fire after stating that people shouldn’t expect their burglaries to be investigated if they fail to secure windows and doors properly.
Chief constable, Phil Kay told his local newspaper the Loughborough Echo he would “far rather” police focused on preventing crime and protecting the public than investigating burglaries where carelessness may have played a role.
He further backed his comments with an unusual link to the NHS: “What the National Health Service will say is ‘we are not going to operate on you because your body mass is too high. They have not helped themselves to prevent an illness.’ “Yet if people leave doors or windows unlocked there is an expectation the police will investigate.”
This latest stance comes one year after the same police force piloted a scheme in which they ignored attempted break-ins at odd-numbered houses as part of an experiment to save money.
At the time their director of forensic sciences, Jo Ashworth said: “When we are operating within reduced budgets, it is critical that we make the absolute best use of our crime scene investigators’ time.”
The pilot was quickly set upon by Eric Tindall of Melton Mowbray Neighbourhood Watch, who rightly pointed out that ‘it does announce to the criminal element, that they can go down one side of the street, but on the other side they are going to need to be more cautious.”
Regardless of which side of the street you live on, odd or even, insurance firms and home security companies are warning that autumn is their busiest time of year and burglary rates are significantly higher during the colder months. Darker, shorter days provide the ideal cover for opportunist thieves. So, with the clocks set to go back next week, we’re sharing 10 things burglars don’t want you to know…
1. If you door doesn’t have a deadbolt you may as well not lock it
Always invest in deadbolts for doors, other locks can be casually picked in minutes using a credit card or screwdriver. Likewise if you leave sheds or garden gates unlocked with tools, ladders or gardening equipment lying around, you make breaking-in that much easier for burglars. You also cut down the time in takes for them to get in – which means your neighbours have less opportunity to spot them.
2. Don’t let any unexpected callers into your home
If anybody knocks at your door offering a service, do not let them in and pull the door to behind you. Pretending to be salespeople, gardeners and workmen is one method thieves use to size up you and your home. Always report it to the police, it’s unlikely your house is the only one in the street they are watching.
If you are having work or repairs carried out on your property always check your windows after the person has left. It’s easy to unlatch a window in a rarely used room (guest room, study, spare bathroom) and it go unnoticed. Many burglars have a day job and will return when you leave the house.
3. Keep your alarm control panel out of view
Place it near a window or door and anyone passing by will be able to tell if you’ve forgotten to enable it. Likewise don’t have the wiring running close to a cat flap, a skilled burglar will know where to cut. Majority of thieves enter through doors or the window over the kitchen sink, keep that in mind when setting up motion detectors.
4. Don’t leave keys outside your home
Under the mat, on top of the ledge and in the plant pot are the first places even the stupidest of thieves will look.
5. Don’t advertise expensive goods
Either by having them laying around in view of windows or not properly disposing of their packaging. Cut up boxes from expensive goods and hide them well in the recycling bin – especially around Christmas when optimistic thieves are most likely to strike.
6. Don’t store small valuables in your underwear drawer
It’s the first place burglars will look. Instead, store them in your child’s bedroom or a storage/spare room – somewhere they would least expect and are unlikely to search in a hurry.
8. Don’t rely on a ‘beware of the dog’ sign
If your house is very desirable, a skilled burglar will not be put off by a ‘beware of the dog’ sign. In fact, former burglars have revealed online that larger dogs are easier to tame (with goodies from your fridge) unlike ‘small yappy dogs that don’t shut up’.
9. Don’t post about your holiday on social media until you return
Uploading photographs of expensive goods and then your holiday plans will invite attention from local burglars.
10. Leaving the TV on and not collecting post
If a thief passes your home and notices that your Television is on all hours day and night, it’s a good indicator that you’re not home. So is post spilling out of the letterbox. Another trick burglars will try before they decide to break-in, is to leave a local takeaway leaflet half hanging out of your letterbox and see how long it takes you to remove it. If you can, ask a neighbour or friend to draw the curtains daily and check on the post whilst you’re away.