Rise in housebreakings – Dumfries and Galloway

Police Scotland officers in Dumfries and Galloway are working hard to investigate and stem a current spate of housebreakings which have happened right across the region in recent months. “We have seen a clear rise in homes being broken into from the latter part of 2015 through into early 2016” explains Detective Inspector Dean Little of the Divisional CID. “We have detected a number of these crimes however are still carrying out investigations into a number of others. Our local Crime Analysts have been hard at work in order to assist local officers tackle this crime spree and help direct resources into the right areas at the right times in order to help prevent any further break-ins. Work which will establish times, days of the week, property stolen and other details of each of the crimes is being analysed in order to assist in the investigation. We are keeping an open mind as to where those who are committing these crimes are coming from and working with colleagues across Police Scotland, and those in the north of England to establish any common ground.

“Uniformed and plain clothes patrols are being directed into areas where we have experienced break-ins, however the real key to catching those responsible lies with the community themselves. We need the eyes and ears of those in the community to be alert and to tell us at the time when they see or hear something which perhaps might seem suspicious or even just a bit unusual or out of character. Those living in the community, and in particular the rural community know best what the norm is for their area, and what is ‘just not right.’ It is amazing the number of neighbours who, when spoken to in our door to door enquiries, can recall something unusual around the time the crime was being committed. If only they had called it in at the time it would have given officers the chance to attend and check it out there and then. The 101 number is there for everyone to use to bring something to our attention that perhaps needs to be checked out. If it is an emergency then of course the 999 system should be used.

“While we are highlighting this issue just now as a priority for the Division to tackle, the overall figures for break-ins to homes this year is only slightly up on the same period last year. The recent spike has come over the past few months. We do want to bring this current outbreak to a halt and we can do this with the help of our communities. As well as being alert as to what is going on in the community, householders should carefully consider the security of their own homes, particularly when leaving them vacant while out working, away for a weekend or a longer holiday. Many simple steps can be taken which will increase the security of a home and reduce the chances of a break-in. Thinking about basic, good housekeeping routines such as
• Many thieves are actually opportunists who do not have to break in at all because a door or window has been left open or unlocked. Keep your home securely locked at all times.
• Don’t leave keys on the inside of door locks, under mats or anywhere else an intruder may easily find them.
• Don’t put your name or room number on your key ring if you live in shared accommodation. If it is lost or stolen, the thief will have information that could direct them to your home and your property.
• Don’t keep house keys and car keys on the same key ring.
• Avoid keeping large amounts of cash in the house. If you must then disperse it in various locations.
• Security mark your property with a UV marker pen. You can use this pen to place an invisible imprint of your postcode and house number on your possessions.
• Record details of your valuables, such as mobile phone, cameras, laptops and tablets on the national mobile property register at www.immobilise.com.
• Don’t leave valuables in sight of windows.
• If you have a wall calendar, avoid mounting it near a window from where appointments can potentially be seen – this may give an indication of when a property will be empty.
• Consider fitting timer devices which can switch lights on and off giving the notion that the house is occupied.

Householders can get further advice on how to secure their home with a free crime prevention survey which can be arranged through their local Crime Reduction Officer. To arrange this, a call can be made through the 101 number.

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