With the nights drawing in, West Yorkshire Police are urging residents to remember a few simple rules to help reduce their chances of becoming a burglary victim.
And by following the advice, residents can do their bit to help the newly formed Operation Viper make life impossible for burglars across the county.
Burglary levels typically increase as the clocks go back and the evenings get longer.
But by following a few simple steps, residents can greatly reduce their chances of being a victim.
Chief Superintendent Dave Oldroyd is leading the brand new Operation Viper set up to specifically target those committing burglary and drug-dealing.
“My job and that of my team is to make it clear to burglars that they have no where to hide and that we will bring them to justice.
“One of our main tasks is to make life impossible for burglars – but we can’t do everything on our own – we need the public to help out and to do their bit as well.
“That is why we are issuing some very simple and straight forward advice about how residents can do their bit.
“For example just by keeping your doors and windows locked (whether you are in the house or not) you are greatly reducing your chances of becoming a burglary victim.
“A lot of criminals are opportunistic and look for ‘easy pickings’. They will try various doors until they find one that is unlocked – so if yours is locked they will simply move on and look for another one.
“Other simple advice includes keeping valuables out of sight and putting away any garden tools or furniture that could be used by a burglar.
“You can also register property on immobilise.com and download tracking software for mobiles and laptops so they can be returned if stolen and then found.”
The advice comes as the service joins in with the nationally launched ‘In Focus’ week around burglary being run by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
“This is a national campaign lasting for a week and we are using it to spread advice around what people can do and what we are doing to prevent burglary from happening and deal with offenders when it does,” added Chf Supt Oldroyd.
“The advice we are giving is relevant all the time and we are carrying out vital work through Operation Viper working closely with partners in our communities day in day out to tackle the issue.
“But this isn’t just about burglary. We are also tackling through Viper the movement of stolen goods and as part of this we visited car boot sales in Dewsbury on Sunday, looking for any stolen items.
“A number of Special Constables, other volunteers and their ‘regular’ colleagues joined forces to reduce the opportunities for criminals to sell stolen goods.
“A total of £4,000 worth of goods were seized with 70 stop checks carried out and various intelligence gathered.
“The feedback from members of the public and stall holders was positive and rest assured there will be more operations like this will be happening soon.
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson said: “Since I was elected just over a year ago, I made tackling burglary a central theme within my Police and Crime Plan given the disruption and impact it can have on victims.
“Having recently visited each District of West Yorkshire as part of my ‘Listening to You First’ campaign, I know that it remains a priority within our neighbourhoods especially at this time of year when the nights draw in quickly.
“Despite some impressive falls in burglary throughout the County over the past couple of years, a sustained effort using the targeted ‘optimal’ approach is being implemented.
“Campaigns such as the national ‘In Focus’ week therefore play an important part in raising awareness, particularly around the crime prevention steps which can be taken to avoid becoming a victim.”
Throughout the week follow the hashtags #InFocus, #burglary and #stolengoods