Ex-burglars give tips for home security to High Peak residents

Former burglars, who had been arrested locally, have been telling police how residents can make their homes less tempting to would-be thieves.

The initiative is part of Operation Illuminate, a campaign which is running throughout the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales to remind and encourage local people to take on board crime prevention advice.

It has been launched to maintain low levels of burglaries across the area, and to prevent a yearly rise in the number of offences.

The total number of burglaries between April 1, 2010 and January 31, 2011 was 268, which is lower than the numbers recorded during the same period during the previous year (2009/10) which was 299.

However, officers have noticed a recent rise in the numbers of house burglaries, with 18 reported to police in the Glossop and New Mills areas in January 2011, compared to 12 during January 2010.

Inspector Gareth Meadows, who is in charge of policing in Glossop and New Mills said: “Local officers, supplemented with extra patrols, have been working hard to target offenders travelling into the area to commit crime.

“In the last week alone officers have arrested five suspects in connection with separate incidents of burglary in Glossop. Two individuals have been charged and other investigations are continuing.”

The top tips from former burglars include:

Potential burglars will always try the door first; if it is locked they may then move on to another house.
• Make sure your door is locked.

Burglars from around the Manchester area will target properties with wooden, rather than UPVC windows as they are easier to get open at night without making too much noise.
• If you have wooden windows consider fitting additional approved locks and avoid leaving windows open.

While trying the door, a burglar will try to look into any visible room through a window to see what is inside.
• Keep valuable property out of sight from passers by.

If they can see items such as car keys, laptops or handbags then they will decide to try and get in.
• Make sure these items are never on view.

Items such as metal filing cabinets or anything else which may suggest that there is a home business will be tempting to a burglar, as they assume there will be a petty cash tin in the bottom drawer.
• Keep furniture such as filing cabinets out of sight from passers by or upstairs in your home.

Expensive, high powered cars are more sought after and a burglar may target homes with these vehicles outside.
• Park your car in a secure garage if you have one, never leave valuable items on show or in the glove box and consider having security devices fitted such as a thatcham approved immobiliser or steering lock.

A burglar will avoid risking confrontation by going upstairs to find car keys.
• Never leave your keys downstairs, take them upstairs at night time.

Metal posts on driveways, which prevent cars from being driven away, will put off a burglar. However, they may consider breaking in if they see car keys from the window as most people will leave keys to these metal posts on the same ring as their car keys.
• Consider installing metal posts and never keep the keys to your car and security devices on the same key ring.

Insp. Meadows added: “Since the beginning of December in over 20 percent of the burglaries reported to us offenders have entered properties through unlocked doors or windows. I would appeal for householders to take these simple crime prevention measures to prevent their possessions from being targeted.”

Funding for the initiative has been provided by the High Peak and Safer Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnerships and police to offer residents the opportunity to pick up discounted crime prevention items such as dusk till dawn light bulbs, door chimes and letterbox covers.

Jean Wharmby, Executive Councillor for Social and Community Development at High Peak Borough Council, said: “Although the High Peak is a safe area with low crime, we and our partners are not complacent. That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of some reformed burglars to advise residents on how to keep their property safe.

“This pioneering initiative is truly a case of poacher turned gamekeeper, and should play an important role in preventing burglary.”

Officers from the Safer Neighbourhood policing teams in Glossop, Gamesley and Charlesworth, Hadfield and Tintwistle and New Mills and Hayfield are also visiting homes across the area to offer advice on home security and crime prevention.

For more information or to contact your local Safer Neighbourhood policing team call 0345 123 33 33. Residents can also collect any of the crime prevention devices on offer at a reduced cost from police stations in both Glossop and New Mills.