Lisburn Police have assured householders in Hillsborough that resources are being targeted in a bid to disrupt criminal activity in the area.
Chief Inspector Lorraine Dobson was speaking after meeting with local residents to hear their concerns about a recent spate of burglaries.
Also in attendance at the meeting on Wednesday, September 28 were politicians and Policing and Community Safety Partnership representatives.
“Burglary continues to remain a concern for police across Northern Ireland and Hillsborough is no different,” Chief Inspector Dobson said.
“Burglary is a key priority for the police. We know how distressing it is to have your home violated. We are sending out a clear message that if you commit a burglary, you will be robustly pursued. For us one victim of burglary, is one victim too many, and that’s why we are working to target resources in a bid to disrupt this activity.”
She continued: “We would also appeal to all householders to take steps to protect their homes.
“It is important that householders take sensible precautions to deter those involved in this type of crime. Crime prevention doesn’t have to be expensive; indeed the first step costs nothing and involves nothing more than making sure that all the windows and doors are closed and properly locked, each time you leave your house - even if you’re in the back garden. If you are going on holiday, cutting the grass, cancelling milk and paper deliveries and, if you have a glass front door, asking a relative or trusted friend to lift the mail so that it cannot be seen piled up on the floor are other measures that cost very little but help to create a scene that implies you are still at home. And, don’t forget to let police know that your house will be vacant.
“Making use of timer switches is another inexpensive way to give your house that ‘lived-in’ look, not only when you are away on holiday but every time you are out after dark, but remember to use the timer switches to turn lights on in rooms that would normally be occupied when you are at home. A single hall light or an unlit house with an outside light on is a bit of a giveaway and will not go unnoticed. For added effect why not use a timer to switch on a radio?”
Chief Inspector Dobson also advised householders to consider the benefits of fitting a burglar alarm.
“An alarm can also be useful when you are at home and can be used to thwart ‘creeper burglars’ who break in while you are asleep. Setting appropriate zones of the alarm system when you retire at night will alert you to the presence of an intruder and will deter them from venturing any further. Keeping your car keys with you in the bedroom will also help to prevent burglars driving off in your car in the middle of the night.
“Looking after your belongings is what it is all about, and it is a good idea to keep a note of serial numbers, and to indelibly mark your property in a way that makes it unique to you. This makes it more difficult for criminals to re-sell your possessions, and it also makes it easier to identify your property in the event it is stolen and subsequently recovered.
“Being a good neighbour is again something that costs nothing but is one of the best deterrents, as criminals and thieves can’t operate if they know their every move is being watched. As it only takes a few minutes to commit a burglary, the importance of promptly reporting all suspicious activity to the police should be obvious.
“I would also ask anyone who notices suspicious activity in their neighbourhood to call us immediately as this could prevent someone from becoming a victim of crime.”
Lagan Valley MLA Jenny Palmer, who attended the meeting, welcomed the PSNI’s commitment to take action to combat burglaries in Hillsborough.
“It is important that action is urgently taken to halt these crimes. It is intolerable that the elderly, as well as churches are being victimised by these thugs,” she said.
“Together with local residents and the PSNI, we have established an action plan. Firstly, we are going to strengthen the local Neighbourhood Watch in the area. I commend the efforts of the watch already, but it is important that they are supported so their activities can expand.
“Secondly, the PCSP have agreed to a leaflet drop in the area with the community reps. Additionally, messages will be communicated to local churches and signage put up to ensure the message that burglars are operating in the area is put out. This is a vital step to stopping their crimes,” the UUP representative continued.
“Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the local CPLC is holding a crime prevention for the elderly event on November 16, which I strongly encourage local residents to attend. I hope that this will be soon followed by a public meeting in the Hillsborough Village Centre, so that residents can have the advice to protect themselves.
“Additionally, I would encourage victims of crime to contact the PCSP. They have offered the excellent 4-Tier Security Scheme to help protect your home including the placing of outdoor lights and new locks.
“Local residents should not have to live in fear. It is important that they are provided with the support and information they need to help to bring these people to justice.”