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North Yorkshire Police is urging residents to lock their doors and
windows and keep valuables out of sight following a small but
concerning spate of sneak-in burglaries across the county.
The policing areas at Selby and Scarborough and Ryedale have beenparticularly affected, with respective 3% and 12% rises in domesticburglary in the period from April 2012 to the end of September 2012. Break-ins have also occurred in Richmondshire, York, Harrogate and Craven, but to a lesser extent. Often properties are targeted by opportunist thieves who have entered
insecure homes and stolen cash and personal items which, in many cases, have been easily visible through the windows. This spike in domestic burglary is set in the context of significant reductions of this most distressing of crimes. This is down to the success of North Yorkshire Police's ongoing burglary reduction campaign, Operation Haven. Since April 2012, there has been an 18% reduction in domestic burglary (168 fewer crimes - from 937 to 769 in total) in North Yorkshire and the City of York in comparison to the same period in the previous financial year. As part of Operation Haven - and particularly in light of the recent spike in incidents - residents are being urged to take extra measures to increase their own home security.

Detective Chief Inspector Heather Pearson, who is co-ordinating
Operation Haven, said: "While residents across the force area can be assured that North Yorkshire Police is working around the clock to deter, catch and bring burglary suspects to justice, it is still vital
for people to do everything they can to ensure their homes and
possessions are as secure as possible. "By taking simple steps such as fitting security lights and burglar alarms, locking windows and doors at all time, and keeping valuables and car keys out of sight, this will go a long way to greatly reduce the threat of opportunistic criminals targeting your home.

DCI Pearson added: "I want people to look around their property and really think about what they can do to take away the temptation from potential burglars. There is a great deal of security advice readily available for homeowners, both from the police and other crime prevention partners. "Please take on board this advice and do everything you can to keep your home safe and secure."

Anyone with information about burglaries or suspicious activity in
your neighbourhood or surrounding area, please do not hesitate to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room. Information can also be passed on anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111. If it is a crime in progress and requires an emergency response, always dial 999.

Burglary crime prevention advice - More than a third of all
burglaries are crimes of opportunity, where the burglar enters through unlocked doors or windows. Keep your home secure. According to the Home Office, you are ten times more likely to be burgled if you don't have basic security - even something as simple as putting strong locks on your doors and windows will keep your house much safer. Nationwide, burglary has fallen by nearly 60% since 1995 - but criminals are opportunists who will take advantage of any chance to steal from you, so you should remain aware.

Securing your home If you want to be certain your home is as safe asyou can make it, here are ten top tips you should follow:

Fit strong locks to external doors and windows, and make sure they are locked at all times.
Always remove all keys from inside locks, and keep them out of sight and in a safe place. Fit sturdy deadlocks (British Standard BS3621) to all doors.
Make sure your doors and frames are strong and in good condition - wood doors should be at least 44mm thick.
Mark your property - having it marked helps police verify it's been
stolen. Fit a door chain or bar and door viewer (spy-hole), and use them.
Never leave a spare key in a convenient hiding place such as under the doormat, in a flowerpot or behind a loose brick - thieves know to look there first.
When you are out in the evening, leave your lights on and shut the curtains.
Install outside security lighting; if other people can see your
property a burglar may think twice.
Keep your tools and ladders securely locked up - a burglar could use them to get into your house.

Safety in your home
Make sure your new security measures (such as window locks) don't block your escape route - and that you can get out of the house as quickly as possible.
Fit a smoke alarm and test it regularly. Make sure you have an escape plan and that everyone in your household knows it.

Securing your outbuildings
A few simple ideas that don't cost the earth for outbuildings are as follows:
· If you have a door lock or window lock on your outbuilding, use it.
· If you don't have a lock look at what type you could fit. In some
cases a simple padlock and hasp correctly fitted to a door can deter the opportunist thief. Use a close coupled padlock for increased security.
· Fit window locks or a grill behind the garage window.
· Garage doors should again be lockable or secured by padlocks. Where integral doors are used for entry from the garage into the house a simple method of security for up and over doors is to drill a hole in the top channel above the wheels and insert a padlock into the hole. This prevents the wheel moving along above the padlock so keeping the door closed during forced entry. Even better, drill a hole in each channel and use two padlocks. If there is no internal door from the garage to the house then the up and over door can be secured by an outer bracket and floor eyelet bolted to the bottom of the door and secured by a padlock into the floor eyelet.
· Consider external lighting, either dusk 'to dawn lighting or PIR
lighting dependant on the location of the outbuilding.
· Consider marking your valuable items with your postcode in a
prominent position or by forensic marking of which there are several inexpensive choices available.
· Consider placing smaller items in a secure cabinet within your shed or garage .
· Consider a shed alarm, an inexpensive item easily fitted.
· Do not leave any car or house keys in any shed or other outbuilding.

Home Security Self Assessment: Residents are urged to go to the North
Yorkshire Police website and following the Home Security Self
Assessment: www.northyorkshire.police.uk/homesecurityassessment

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