Protect your home — it’s your castle

Published on: 03 Aug 2013

POLICE are posting the stories of homeowners who have been victims of opportunist thieves in a bid to encourage people to tighten up on home security.

The move is part of an Avon and Somerset police campaign called Your Home is Your Castle aimed at encouraging people to shut and lock their windows and doors in warm weather, even if they are only in the garden or another room.

The campaign also offers advice on how to protect your home and minimise the chances of being burgled while on your summer hols.

Three people, who live in Avon and Somerset and were victims of opportunist burglars in the warm weather, have told their stories to help raise awareness and stop others falling victim to the same situations.

Jon Stratford, lead in the force’s fight to tackle burglars, said: “The number of burglaries in Avon and Somerset is falling every year and because it doesn’t affect a huge number of people, unless you have been a victim yourself, it’s easy to become complacent and not think about the small chance that someone could just walk in your door or climb in through an open window.

“But we are not complacent in our mission to stop burglars creating more victims and people at home shouldn’t be either. Around 30 per cent of all our burglaries could have been avoided because burglars got in through open windows or unlocked doors. We don’t want people to be terrified in their own homes, but just taking a few sensible precautions could make all the difference and keep an opportunist thief out of your home.”

Posters will be put up around neighbourhoods to promote the campaign and police will give out postcards at local events over the summer with more information. Bobbies on the beat will also be popping specially designed alert cards through windows and doors that they spot left open, to make people think.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Being burgled means more than just the inconvenience of an insurance claim and has the potential to ruin your summer. Burglary is extremely disruptive and upsetting for the victim and will not be tolerated in Avon and Somerset. Tackling burglary and the fear of burglary is one of my priorities highlighted by the Police and Crime Plan. Working together, with the police, probation, prisons, drug services and the criminal justice system, we are committed to bringing burglars to justice. It is important that everyone across Avon and Somerset is safe.

Here are some of the burglaries which took place across South Gloucestershire last summer:

Staple Hill: A family left a door unlocked overnight. When they came down in the morning they found thieves had stolen a laptop, mobile phone and a wallet containing cash and bank cards.

Kingswood: A family left a small window open overnight. When they came down in the morning they found two handbags had been stolen from the hall. The bags were found abandoned by a neighbour – but cash had been taken.

Filton: A man was alerted by his dog barking and saw a suspect running through the garden and over the fence. The thief had got into the kitchen through an unlocked back door and stole a mobile phone and cash.

Yate: Two homes in the same street in Yate were burgled on the same night. Both householders had left the back door unlocked. In each case the thief sneaked into the kitchen and took a wallet from the counter while someone was at home.

Thornbury area: Thieves walked into a house in Cromhall and took a handbag containing cash, bank cards and keys from the kitchen table. They got in through the unlocked side door without the householder noticing.

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