The South West Ipswich police team were at the Stoke Park Asda at the weekend to give residents useful packs with advice about security in the home and with their motor vehicles.
Ben Gummer and I went to see them after campaigning in Stoke Park and it was somewhat surprising how many people had left goods and belongings on show in their cars. As we were arriving a police officer was leaving a flyer on the windscreens of cars where the owners had left items on show, including mobiles and gifts, that might tempt an opportunist to break in. I must admit I am guilty of leaving an old coat in my car, on a regular basis, for the times when I might break down and need the extra warmth. I was rightly told this is not a good thing to do and when I returned home I promptly removed all those items that were in my car and could be a curious temptation for any would-be thief! And as one police officer said, it's not just about the items, it's about the inconvenience of having a smashed window etc.
There were some good bits of advice and although some are obvious, it's amazing how many people need reminding! Including:
Sat Navs, CD players and tools are favourites of thieves. Remove all signs of valuable items.
Park in well lit areas
Consider registering all your identifiable valuables - www.immobilise.com
Put keys out of reach from windows and doors to your house (Also - one I learnt from a friend - while she was still in the house an opportunist thief used a devise to reach down from a small open window and stole her handbag).
Stop, Lock, Chain and Check - to keep bogus callers out. Carefully check identity cards, including checking the number shown on the identity card with the phone book, before calling it, and if in doubt, do not let them in.
Burglaries have dropped over the last few years but they still happen and it's important to secure your home. if you rent from a private landlord then it is their responsibility to ensure that you have security features but up to the tenants to use them. Work with the landlord to improve security if you're not happy with the locks that are currently on your doors and windows.
Some questions for all of us to ask of ourselves and our vulnerable neighbours;
Does your door have a robust deadlock?
Do you lock your doors even if you're leaving the house for just a few minutes?
Are windows and frames in good condition?
Do you keep your windows locked?
Is your garden fence in good condition and high enough to make climbing difficult?
Have you marked your valuables?
Are you a member of Neighbourhood Watch?
Are your garages and sheds secure?
If you have a communal entry point, do you make sure you never buzz strangers in or allow them to follow you in?
For more info
Suffolk police 01473 613500
Crimestoppers 0800 555 111