Officers in Southport are appealing for information and issuing crime prevention advice following an increase in local burglaries targeting car keys.
“Over the last two weeks there has been an increase in overnight burglaries Southport. In a number of these the focus has been to obtain keys for cars, in order to steal cars from the driveway. Each of these burglaries remain under investigation and we are keen to reduce the number of future victims of this type of crime.
One element of those investigations is that our PCSO’s will make enquiries at between 20 – 40 homes in the vicinity of the burglary to try and identify any witnesses or locate any CCTV cameras which may have captured the offenders. If officers don’t speak to you in person, but you get a ‘BURGLARY ALERT WARNING LETTER’ through your door, please ensure you pay attention to it. Your information could be vital to our enquiries. Crime Scene Investigators attend at burglary locations to look for further evidence.
From the enquiries made so far, we have reason to believe the cars stolen have been identified as targets earlier in the week before being stolen. So it is a good time to report to the police any individuals or vehicles that you see in the daytime paying attention to cars on driveways in your area.
METHOD OF ENTRY
A common theme in these recent burglaries is that offenders are forcing and removing the locking barrels of rear UPVC doors or patio doors and taking the barrels away. There is, therefore, a need to find ways to further secure and alarm rear doors to reduce the risk to your own property.
Patio locks that link through the door handles, as pictured, are a good way to secure patio doors, in addition to the original locks. Anti-snap barrels for UPVC door locks are available to stop offenders using this method to gain entry.
Vibration alarms that can be added to doors and windows are a good idea. These will sound an alarm to alert you that someone is tampering with windows/doors and may be enough to warn the offender off.
If your home is accessible through your garage, then a motion detecting shed alarm is worth fitting.
All of these items are available from the home hardware stores in your local area.
LIGHTING AND CCTV
Security lighting is worth considering for all homes however, if your home backs on to a park or similar open space, or you have some kind of side passage access such as a business or electricity substation at the side, then you should certainly be adding security lighting. If you do, always make sure it is located high enough up the building so it cannot be tampered with by hand or be smashed with a broom handle. Likewise with CCTV. If it is located too low down, offenders will just move it, making it useless.
Doorbell cameras provide good quality CCTV footage for the front of your driveway.
Among the cars that have been stolen recently have been the following:
VW GOLF GTi
AUDI (Mainly the S3 series)
VAUXHALL ASTRA (high powered turbo models)
FORD FOCUS (RS etc)
If you have this type of car or any other prestige type car then you should be considering further security measures, beyond the standard locks and alarms. Trackers have been used to locate stolen cars to good effect, but do have an annual charge. Low tech methods such as wheel clamps, often seen used on camper vans, add a strong visual deterrent to theft and should be considered to be fitted once your car is parked up for the night. Steering wheel locks or gear lever locks are other low tech measures, which may not look nice, but could be the difference between your car being targeted or not. (Other brands of similar locks are available)
• If you have a garage use it – break-ins of cars that have been locked away in the garage are almost unheard of.
• Add a garage/shed alarm.
• Add a pathway alert alarm. This will sound if anyone walks onto your driveway.
• Keep keys out of view and ensure keyless ignition fobs are kept in a secure tin or pouch, away from doors and windows.
• When out, park your car in a well-lit area.
• Especially do not leave ANYTHING OF VALUE in your car; Wallets phones, laptops/Ipads, satellite navigation systems etc. and always wipe the tell-tale marks off your windscreen that tell would be criminals that a sat nav ‘may’ be kept inside the vehicle.
• If you see suspicious activity around unattended vehicles dial 999 immediately.
Last week we recovered three stolen cars that had been left in a car park for a number of weeks. So if you see vehicles that you do not recognise in car parks that you use regularly, always make a call to 101 or report them to us via social media, so that we can check to see if they are outstanding stolen vehicles.
Every effort is being made to investigate these recent burglaries. Please help reduce the risk to your own home and vehicle by taking these steps to make your property less attractive to thieves.”
Inspector Graham Fisher