Police launch burglary awareness campaign

By Barrie Hudson - 8 December 2023


Wiltshire Police has launched a month long campaign to tackle burglary in the county.

The force says burglary is an operational priority, as outlined by Chief Constable Catherine Roper at the start of the year.

In 2022, following a review by the College of Policing, the National Police Chiefs Council requested all forces attend all home burglaries. Wiltshire joined the national pledge to commit to this, and says the most recent figures show that in October in October it attended 96.1 per cent of all residential burglaries and 100 per cent of all reports of distraction burglaries.

Since April, there have been 327 residential burglaries – a 15 per cent decrease on the same time period last year.

In July, the force established its Burglary Team to help target prolific offenders and investigate series offences and out-of-force offenders who travel to Wiltshire to commit crime.

Det Insp Darren Ambrose, of the Burglary Team, said: “Burglary is one of the most impactive crimes that a member of the public can suffer. 

"Your home is the place you should feel most safe and secure and somebody breaking in can change the life of a victim and their family forever. That is why burglary is a priority for the force and why we are taking steps to improve our approach to dealing with residential burglary.

“The newly established  Burglary Team are able to support local neighbourhood officers investigating burglary to help reduce the number of burglaries and provide the victims of burglary with the best possible service.”

As part of the campaign, the force will be raising awareness of important crime prevention advice to help people reduce their risk of falling victim to this type of crime.

It has issued a prevention checklist:

- Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when just in the garden. And make sure you have approved locks or bolts to all doors and windows.

- Never leave a spare key in a hiding place like in a plant pot or letter box - a thief knows all the hiding places

- Register all serial numbers from electrical items, tools and garden equipment with Immobilise.com the free national property register. Mark items without serial numbers with an artificial DNA property marker such as Smartwater or SelectaDNA.

- Use a timer to set lights to mimic your usual activity when you are not at home.

- Do not open the door to anyone you don't know or are not expecting.  Always check by using a spy-hole or look through a window. Do not trust an ID card.

- Trim back any plants and hedges at the front of your property to no higher than one meter to remove hiding places.

- Always report any suspicious activity, note any vehicle registrations, descriptions of persons involved and direction of travel.

- Consider installing a monitored burglar alarm, and only use a company that is registered or certified with the NSI or the SSIAB.

- Take photographs of all jewellery including hallmarks and keep them safe. Make sure that you have up to date contents insurance.

- Keep all keys, purses and wallets out of sight and away from the letterbox.

Throughout the month, people can follow advice on social media under the hashtag #BeatTheBurglar.

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