Police Remind Residents To Keep Their Homes Secure

As Summer months see large increase in number of burglaries


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Hounslow Police would like to remind residents to keep their homes secure this summer to help reduce a seasonal increase in burglaries where thieves get in through open windows and doors.

In London last summer (between June and September) we saw an average monthly increase of about 34% where burglars entered homes without having forced entry. In the hotter summer months many people leave windows and back doors open to keep cool, often leaving their homes unsecured - and more attractive to burglars.

Burglary, on the whole, is an opportunist crime and a burglar will select his target because it offers him the best opportunity to carry out his crime undetected and with the fewest number of obstacles in his way. A building that presents itself as unoccupied and insecure is far more likely to be targeted than one which is properly secured.

Here are some signs that burglars look out for:

  • Side gates open
  • Accessible windows open
  • Ladders left out, allowing access to otherwise inaccessible windows
  • Untrimmed hedges or high fences preventing natural surveillance

We are advising Londoners to take a few measures that can reduce the chance of it happening to them. When leaving the property unoccupied, even for just a short time, householders should always lock all windows and doors. If fitted, alarms should be switched on. Whenever possible make it look as though your house is occupied, and don't leave any valuables on display. It's also worth remembering:

  • Never leave a spare key concealed anywhere near the front door - burglars know all the hiding places
  • Prevent letterbox burglaries by storing keys away from the front door
  • Do not label your house keys in case you lose them and they fall into the wrong hands.

If leaving the property for longer periods consider:

  • Installing timers which switch lights or radios on and off automatically.
  • Having a neighbour or friend pop round to clear your letter box or doorstep.
  • Encouraging a neighbour to park on your drive.
  • If going out after dark, draw the curtains, leave some lights on and a radio playing.

While prevention is vital the MPS recognises the need to target known or suspected burglars as well. The Met's anti-burglary task force - Operation Bumblebee - is continuing to investigate and pursue suspects and bring them before the courts. Recently, targeted proactive operations in south London led to 37 arrests for burglary-related offences and the recovery of stolen goods. The operation also led to a further 329 arrests for other offences including robbery and assault, and the seizure of 127 vehicles which were suspected of being linked to crime.

While we see a seasonal rise in burglaries through open windows and doors the overall number of burglaries continues to fall with recent figures (April to June 2010) revealing a 9.8% reduction compared with the same period last year.

This summer officers will also be visiting homes across London to reiterate crime prevention advice to residents about keeping their homes as safe as possible.

Assistant Commissioner Ian McPherson, head of Metropolitan Police Service Territorial Policing said, "Having your home burgled can be a very upsetting experience, and therefore we are determined to stop it from happening in the first place by increasing peoples' security and by targeting offenders. In the summer people understandably are more inclined to leave their windows or doors open and then forget to close them when they go out. This offers a great opportunity to would-be thieves.

"We urge Londoners to take a few simple, but very effective measures to minimise the chance of being burgled. When leaving your home - make sure it's as secure as it can be. If your home is locked up and secure burglars will find it much harder to get in.

"The Met police are here to advise you on how best to secure your home. We are here to help bring burglars to court, and we are here to help you keep your homes and our communities safe and secure."


August 3, 2010