1. ITV Report

Police issue advice ahead of expected spike in burglaries

Photo: ITV Meridian

Police forces in the Meridian region are giving out tips on how to protect your property, with an expected spike in burglaries over the festive period.

It comes as a survey of domestic burglary victims found that more than half of break-ins took place when someone was in the house, and 91% of people did not have a monitored alarm system installed.

The survey, carried out by Verisure, questioned 1,000 people and also found that three in ten victims said they longer felt safe at their home following the incident.

After 20 years of decline, burglaries are now on the increase - up by around 10% last year. Many feel decreasing police officer numbers and scant resources are having an impact.

Tom Pearse from Haslemere says he could not have done any more to try and protect his tree care and gardening business from burglars, who have stolen from his yard near the Surrey/Hampshire border on three separate occasions in 18 months. He has lost nearly £30,000.

The thieves cut through thick steel bars on shipping containers.

The thick steel bars and reinforced lock systems were no match for the thieves, who came equipped with angle grinders, wrenches and a winch on the front of a truck. They also ripped out the CCTV system.

A lot of it comes down to how visible the police are and the number of police officers on the beat. There also has to be more communication and information-sharing between the forces, especially with crimes on the borders where we are.

– Tom Pearse, TJ Tree Care

Tom says that while a forensics team did come to his yard, police told him nothing was found.

Tom says he's spent thousands of pounds on security

He said: "They tend to have a look at it, disappear off, and then about a week later you get a call saying they can't find anything and they're closing down the case. And that's it. So that's a bit frustrating because someone must know something about where all this equipment is going."

Despite stretched resources, police forces say they are working hard to reduce the impact of burglary within communities and that crime prevention advice is part of those efforts.

Home-owners are particularly vulnerable at this time of year, so are advised to avoid leaving presents on view and to refrain from posting photos of expensive items on social media.

If you're going away over Christmas, don't advertise it online. If you've been bought expensive items, just put the packaging out in the bin on the day of collection, not before. It's all about not advertising what is in your property and being proactive.

– Ch Insp Helen Roberts, Thames Valley Police
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