Bogus Burglars with a “Lock Up” Message
Police Officers across East Cheshire are posing as burglars in an attempt to persuade people to lock their doors.
Officers in plain clothes are carrying out patrols trying the door handles of houses and flats in the hours between 4pm and 2am. Wherever they find one unlocked, they knock until someone answers, even if it means getting someone out of bed.
Then they give the message, “If we had been burglars, by now you would have lost cash, valuables such as a laptop or an ipod, sentimental items such as jewellery and possibly the car off your drive!”
As well as the “burglaries with good intent”, Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers are distributing thousands of door hanger cards which list security checks to be carried out before anyone leaves home, even for a short time. The cards are designed to be left on the door handle or lock as a permanent reminder about home security.
They are also offering an opportunity for people to claim prizes for taking part in the crime prevention campaign, code named Operation Golden.
The Police Operation is a response to the fact that nearly forty per cent of all burglaries in East Cheshire are carried out through unlocked doors or downstairs windows which have been left open.
Chief Inspector Peter Crowcroft, in charge of Neighbourhood Policing in Cheshire Police Eastern Area, said, “There are burglars who specialise in sneak-ins. They walk around streets, nipping in and out of gardens and trying doors until they find one unlocked.
“Most of them don’t care if anyone is in the house. Even if the family is in the next room watching television or eating, the criminal will walk into the kitchen or hallway, grab a bag, purse, or some other item of value and be out again in seconds.
“These burglaries can be avoided by locking the door. It is the simplest bit of crime prevention you can imagine and it’s surprising that so many people make their homes vulnerable by simply failing to turn a key.
“All your Police Officers put a tremendous amount of work into catching criminals but prevention is a far better answer. We are asking everyone to play their part and take elementary precautions to protect their homes and keep the rats out.
“Cheshire Police as a whole is about to launch a Lock Up campaign.
Operation Golden is about raising the profile of security at home and keeping people safe”.
The Golden Ticket
Some of the crime prevention door hangers handed out as part of Operation Golden include a Golden Ticket which will open the door to prizes. Police are looking for local sponsors to support this initiative.
“The person who receives one of the Golden Tickets will be able to claim vouchers towards the cost of things like ipods, books or a meal for two at a local restaurant,” said Chief Inspector Peter Crowcroft.
“Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers will distribute the door hangers while they are out on patrol and we hope the chance of a prize will add some extra interest.
“It is about getting the message across. Do you read all the leaflets that you receive? We want to add a little something extra which we hope will make our door hanger cards more readable. Then we want people to take note of what’s on them and leave them on the door as a constant reminder of what they ought to be doing as matter of course
“We believe this check list of simple security precautions can make your home a lot safer from crime. Above all, we hope people will get into the habit of home security. Most people do lock up. Please be one of the crowd.”
Steps to Beat the Burglar.
· Lock Doors and secure windows at all times
· Check doors and windows before going to bed
· Set any security alarms before going to bed and when you go out.
· Make the house look occupied when you are out. Set time switches on lights and on a radio.
· Keep an eye open for anyone acting suspiciously in your neighborhood. If you are concerned about anything report it on the Cheshire Police Information line 0845 458 0000.
· If you have any information about burglaries call the information Line (above) or you can leave information anonymously on the Crimestoppers line 0800 555 111.