A new campaign is encouraging the public to take a few simple steps to protect their home, their family, and their belongings from opportunistic crime.
Approximately one third of domestic burglaries across Northern Ireland are committed because home owners leave doors and windows open and the new campaign from the PSNI and Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs) is designed to raise awareness of the crime prevention measures that can be taken to keep people and property safe.
While domestic burglary against older people has increased by 36.2% in Northern Ireland compared to last year, the latest figures for Mid Ulster show a downward trend in the number of incidents (April 2015 to October 2015).
There is no room for complacency, however, according to the Chair of Mid Ulster PCSP, Councillor Phelim Gildernew:
“Any burglary is one too many and the issue remains a concern for the PCSP.
“We are working with the local PSNI on this campaign to raise awareness of the simple steps you can take to lessen your chances of falling victim to crime.
“Our involvement will bring a local focus to the problem and help not only to increase awareness of domestic burglary in our area, but also highlight the important role our PCSP has in making the community safer.
“Things like checking and securing your back doors and windows and security marking your valuables will help to prevent burglaries in your home. With a focus on protecting your belongings the campaign also highlights the importance of protecting elderly members of your family against burglary and what steps to take to ensure they stay safe in their home.
“I would urge everyone to take heed of the practical advice on offer to better protect themselves, their families and belongings. All it takes is a few simple changes in your daily routine to help everyone feel safer.”
The PSNI, working with the Commissioner for Older Persons, is also launching the ‘Nominated Neighbour’ scheme. This is an initiative that if an unrecognised caller comes to the address of an older person when they are alone in the house, the caller will be handed a card instructing them to contact their ‘Nominated Neighbour’, who will then try and check the caller’s identity.
District Commander for the area Superintendent Mike Baird, PSNI said:
“Tackling domestic burglary remains of major importance for the Police Service. Our overall aim is to keep people safe and bring more offenders before the courts - this is what we are working with the community and other partner agencies to achieve. On a daily basis, police officers respond to calls for help from people who have been burgled, so we are very much aware of the effect these incidents can cause. We know that domestic burglary is a crime that can have a high victim impact when a person’s home is broken into and their personal space invaded. The potentially significant impacts of the loss of precious and personal items is fully recognised, and the potential financial hardships that might occur also. We would continue to urge anyone who notices anything suspicious in their local area to contact their police. We need everybody’s help in ensuring that burglars do not get away with their crimes. I would appeal to anybody who witnesses suspicious activity in their area to contact police immediately on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”
To find out more about how you can protect ‘your home, your family and your belongings’ you should contact Mid Ulster PCSP on 03000 132 132, E: firstname.lastname@example.org or your local crime prevention officer or policing team on 101.