‘Don’t lose it, lock them out’ – police

LOCK up or lose out.

That’s the message to householders in a new police drive to beat burglars.

The force says: “It only takes a minute for a burglar to sneak into your home through an unlocked door or window. Equally, it only takes a minute to lock up your home and hide valuables.”

While sneak-in burglaries have fallen, with the clocks having gone forward police want residents to help them further cut break-ins and get into the habit of locking windows and doors.

In the campaign, a series of videos will be released featuring burglary victims, a reformed offender and students, who are often particular targets. It warns people that keeping your home safe and secure really does only take a minute of your time.

The first video features 33-year-old Richard Elliott who became a burglary victim after leaving his front door unlocked overnight. The thief stole his car keys and car, laptop, plasma TV, his child’s money box and his wife’s handbag containing precious photographs of their young son.

Crime prevention postcards, door and window stickers and street signs will also be distributed where sneak-in burglary is particularly high.

One in four burglaries in West Yorkshire are through an unlocked door or window. And, on average, around £1,000 worth of personal property is stolen during a sneak-in theft – an offence which traditionally peaks in spring and summer.

In May 2011 there were 482 insecure burglaries across the county compared to 242 the following December. However, insecure burglaries have reduced by seven per cent over the last two years. Between April and September 2010 there were 2,847 insecure burglaries compared with 2,643 in the same period last year.

Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Dodd said: “Far too many people have the lighter nights ruined by heartless thieves.

“Burglars can be in and out of your home in a matter of minutes and often walk in through an unlocked door while you are in the garden or busy in the kitchen.

“People’s lives can be destroyed by burglary and it’s an issue we are working tirelessly to combat. Our hard work is paying off and we are seeing results. But there are still too many people ignoring our messages and we need their help to continue to combat the problem. Most burglaries are preventable and by making some simple changes to a daily routine we can reduce this type of crime.

“A burglar’s dream is an unlocked door or window. So, the message is clear – lock your doors when you come home and don’t leave windows open in an unoccupied room.”