Kent residents are urged to protect their homes from opportunistic burglars

/ / Kent residents are urged to protect their homes from opportunistic burglars

As temperatures start to rise, so do the chances of criminals targeting properties with open windows and insecure doors.

Following a number of recent burglaries, Kent Police is taking the opportunity to remind everyone of the simple steps that can be taken to keep homes safe from would-be offenders.

Insecure properties provide the ideal environment for thieves and something as simple as closing your windows and doors can prevent such an intrusive crime from taking place.

Detective Chief Inspector Lopa McDermott, who leads the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad, said: ‘It is only natural that people should want to open their windows and doors to keep cool when the temperatures are high but it is also important that we make people aware of the risks.

‘It only takes a few minutes when you’re in your garden for someone to climb through an open window and steal your belongings. Doors should never be left unlocked if you plan to spend the day outside.

‘We certainly don’t want to cause alarm, and no one should feel unsafe in their home, however it is important that we ask the public to take extra precautions whilst we do everything within our power to protect people and seek those responsible for such crimes.’

Detectives are investigating several reports of burglary including one incident in Beauxfield Road, Whitfield near Dover on Thursday 18 June 2020 where cash was stolen from a wallet inside the home of a victim who had been gardening at the front of the house. The suspect is thought to have entered through a patio door at the back of the property.

In Ashford on Wednesday 17 June a property was targeted in Hythe Road, Willesborough, between 1.30pm and 4.30pm. The resident was in the front garden at the time and when they returned to the house, they found drawers and cupboards had been ransacked and money and jewellery was missing.

A van has been reported stolen from outside a home in Amhurst Bank Road, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells. The keys were taken from inside the accommodation between 11pm and midnight on 7 June 2020.

In Borstal Road, Rochester a house was targeted overnight on 5 June where a designer bag, a purse containing cards and cash, a phone and an iPad were reported stolen. The suspect is thought to have entered the property through an insecure door while the victim was asleep upstairs.

DCI McDermott added: ‘Burglary has a devastating effect on victims. It robs people of more than just money. Sentimental items can’t be replaced and the emotional damage it causes can stay with victims for a long time.

‘There will always be a minority who will break the law so, whether it’s your house, business, flat or shed, always keep it secure.’

Safety advice

  • Lock your doors and windows at night and during the day when you’re not in the vicinity (even if you are just popping upstairs for something).
  • Lock your back doors and windows when you answer the front door. Some burglars use distraction techniques.
  • Consider fitting extra security measures such as spy holes, door chains, door locks and intruder alarms.
  • Install your own CCTV covering the front and back of your property.
  • Keep receipts and serial numbers safe.
  • Photograph and insure expensive or unique items.
  • Don’t keep valuables on display, consider installing a safe that could be bolted to the ground or wall. Or use a safety deposit box at your bank.
  • Use timer switches on lights and radios to make your home look occupied.
  • Keep gates, boundaries and sheds secure.
  • Lock away bikes, tools and garden items that could be taken or used to break into your home.
  • Don’t leave spare keys hidden outside under pots or in garages.
  • Think before posting holiday pictures on social media as it can make burglars aware the house is empty.
  • Keep gardens tidy and pruned to remove good hiding places for burglars and install security lights.
  • Cancel milk or paper deliveries when you’re away and make sure your grass is cut, these are some things that won’t make your home stand out.