Police are holding a public meeting in Northampton to warn Asian families about a rise in gold thefts.
There have been more than 40 incidents in the county since November - with 13 already this month.
Gangs have been targeting Asian family's homes and demanding they hand over high-value jewellery. It's also a problem in neighbouring areas.
Subramaniam Vijayaratnam was at home in Milton Keynes last year when burglars broke in. They ransacked the house and threatened him before stealing his gold ring and necklace.
Police in Northamptonshire say some of the offenders have threatened violence.
Police have issued the following advice:
- We recommend removing your gold and jewellery from your home and storing it in a safety deposit box to keep it and your family as safe as possible. Police officers are working with financial institutions to make these schemes more readily available in Northamptonshire. For now, Metro Bank in Milton Keynes is the closest location with safety deposit box facilities.
- Don’t store high value gold and jewellery in your home, even if you have a safe fitted. The best place for it is in a safety deposit box. This will help protect your family and home too.
- Don’t talk about your valuable gold and jewellery outside your home and don’t tell people that you have it. Avoid posting about weddings, festivals or other celebrations on social media – criminals may see your posts and work out when you won’t be at home, or use your photos to identify valuables, including gold jewellery. Ensure your privacy settings mean only people you know can see your profile, posts and pictures.
- When attending events, consider only putting your jewellery on when you arrive, and removing it again before you leave. Travel to and from celebrations in a group, using well-lit streets. If you get a taxi, check you are using a licensed, reputable firm. If you do wear jewellery in public, be discreet – consider wearing a scarf to cover your neckline, and a long-sleeved coat to cover your wrists. Make sure your jewellery is marked with a suitable security product such as SmartWater® and register your property free of charge at www.immobilise.com. Find information on traceable liquids at www.securedbydesign.com. You may also consider having items laser engraved with your name.
- Photograph each piece of valuable gold or jewellery and keep a written description - this will help in appealing for information and returning it to you if it is ever stolen.
- Ensure jewellery is adequately covered by your insurance, with an agreed valuation. Keep all original insurance documents, receipts, photographs, valuations and certificates of authenticity safe – do not store them with your items.
- Try to avoid decorating the outside of your home during religious festivals and events. Symbols, flags, lights or other emblems can all help criminals identify homes where gold is likely to be present. Be mindful of displaying religious icons on your vehicle as well. Improve your home security. Always keep doors and windows locked, keep keys out of sight and reach of doors, windows, letterboxes and catflaps, and check callers before opening the door.
- Further advice is available at www.northants.police.uk/crime-prevention.
- Witnesses or anyone with information about this incident or the wider series of Asian gold burglaries should call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.