As the darker evenings are upon us and people start their Christmas shopping, we are urging Kent residents to ensure their homes are as secure as possible to deter thieves.
So far this financial year, Kent Police has recorded 3,107 residential burglaries and officers recognise that the autumn and winter months do tend to see a spike in reported incidents. The extra hours of darkness combined with residents being out enjoying festive events can give thieves the time they need to break into homes and steal valuable items.
Officers at Kent Police recognise this trend and every year, between November and January, take the opportunity to remind people of the ways in which they can improve on their home security and offer advice online and via social media to help prevent as many burglaries as possible. The public are also urged to be vigilant and report anything suspicious straight away.
Shoppers getting in early with their Christmas gifts are encouraged not to keep valuables on display in their homes near to windows and doors, and to ensure any packaging is not left outside, which is inviting for thieves. Homeowners are also advised to make sure windows, side gates and garages are securely locked, and burglar alarms are on. You should also consider marking valuables to assist with identification if stolen.
But, we’d also like to reassure residents that since 2019, Kent Police has had a dedicated team of officers and detectives who focus heavily on catching burglars and putting them before the courts. They have secured more than 1,500 years in prison sentences.
Just this week, the team secured a six-year prison sentence for a prolific burglar in Tunbridge Wells.
Michael Maloney from Nettle Way, Minster-on-Sea broke into homes in the area while the owners were out and stole valuable items such as jewellery and cash. Three suspects are also due to appear in court having been charged with burgling homes in Ashford and Borough Green. The trio allegedly smashed windows to gain entry and stole items of high value, such as jewellery and bank cards.
Superintendent Pete Steenhuis said: ‘Preventing burglaries and bringing offenders to justice is a top priority throughout the year for Kent Police. However, we have historically seen an increase in reports during the weeks between Halloween and Christmas.
‘Our focus is on catching and convicting offenders whilst encouraging people to take simple crime prevention steps to keep their properties secure.
‘Burglary is a terrible crime that can leave victims feeling scared and anxious long after the offences have taken place and we want to do all we can to make this even less likely to occur.
‘Any suspicious behaviour should always be reported via the Kent Police website or call 101 if you do not have access to the internet. In the event of an emergency, or if a crime is in progress, always call 999.’
The new My Community Voice two-way messaging service is also a great way for people to receive regular alerts and advice on the issues that matter most to them. Register your details at www.MyCommunityVoiceKent.co.uk.