During December’s dark winter nights, homes in Luton sit lit up like Christmas trees, sparkling with the promise of expensive gifts galore inside for any burglar brave enough to try the front door.
Shockingly, that’s all it takes for most burglars to gain access to a property as many people do not bother to lock their doors properly.
During burglary reduction week, reporter Connie Primmer joined Sergeant Andrew Rivers from Beds Police on patrol in a burglary hotspot area to find out about the force’s campaign to crackdown on burglars.
Driving into Farley Hill, one of the burglary hotspots, it was clear that the majority of front doors were UPVC doors.
Sergeant Rivers said: “These doors are the ones that are giving us problems. To stop a burglar is going to be very very easy. Look at the handles on the doors. Just lift it up and turn the key.
“Burglars a lot of the time are opportunists. They will walk around and try each door, if it’s on the latch they can pop the door. It’s easily done but it’s easy to prevent. Turn the key.”
Operation Peak is Beds Police’s seasonal burglary reduction blitz with the message ‘You lock up, we lock ’em up’.
Sergeant Rivers said the run-up to Christmas does see a spike in burglaries, which is mainly due to it getting darker earlier and there being more opportunities.
Officers are patrolling the known hot-spots in the town at the time of the most burglaries which in Farley Hill is between 2pm - 7pm.
Whilst on patrol, we saw residents going into their houses and not lifting their UPVC door handles to lock them.
Although the residents were at home, Sergeant Rivers said getting into the habit of not locking the door when you get home could mean you forget to lock up at night time.
Windows being left open can also be an invitation to burglars, as is a Christmas tree visible through the window surrounded by presents.
Sergeant Rivers said: “Burglars do not become criminals just over the Christmas period. It’s not because people are suddenly short of cash. The moral ground of most people is not to go into other people’s houses. With burglars, it’s what they do. But when there are presents in the house, burglars have more chance of getting something good from the burglary during this time.”
Last year Operation Peak was one of a number of initiatives in Luton which contributed towards a 31 per cent drop in burglaries in the town when compared to last year.
Speaking about the operation, Local Policing Chief Inspector Rob McCaffray, said: “We’ve run a variation of this targeted and intelligence led operation for a number of years and once again we will be continuing our efforts to fight burglary.
“Burglary is an offence which leaves the victim extremely upset and with a feeling of violation, particularly at a time when people are preparing for Christmas and a time of happiness. I can assure residents across Bedfordshire that we will be doing all that we can to reduce burglary within our communities.”
If you would like to speak to someone about crime reduction advice please contact your Local Policing Team via the force website at www.bedfordshire.police.uk, visit the force’s Facebook page or telephone Bedfordshire Police on 101.
If you have information relating to those committing burglaries contact Bedfordshire Police, in confidence, on the non-emergency number 101, or text information to 07786 200011.