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Top tips for beating the burglars – light up, lock up and turn the key!

Our statistics show that one quarter of the burglaries in the force area are due to insecure properties. It may sound like stating the obvious, but locking up and shutting windows can go a long way to keeping the burglars out.

The latest news is that we are now also seeing a correlation between some burglaries and a certain type of door handle. Some paddle and stub handles often give the home owner the impression that their door is locked but unless the key has been turned in many cases the door is merely on a catch and can easily be opened by unscrupulous and opportunist thieves.

picture of front door with caption: lift the handle, turn the key, it's as easy as 1, 2, 3!
The good news is that the number of burglaries across the Avon and Somerset area is falling, and if people remember to simply lock-up when they leave, we could see that reduce by a further 25%.

CSI Zoe Gibbons explains: “Some burglars are targeting UPVC front doors, which have a moveable handle on the outside. People usually pull the door shut and then pull the handle up engaging the multiple locks, believing that the door is locked.

"However, if these are not then locked with a key and someone pushes the exterior handle down - it disengages all of these locks. Although you cannot then just open the door it does mean that the only lock securing the door is the small latch next to the handle. Burglars are then using items to slip the lock and gain entry, leaving very little visible signs of damage. Please remember to use the key and lock your doors properly!”

Burglary remains a priority for the Constabulary both at a force and local level due to the nature of the crime itself.

Force burglary lead, DCI Gary Haskins, said: “We don’t ever underestimate how traumatic and unsettling a burglary is for victims, their family and neighbours. For many victims, the emotional devastation caused by having their home burgled often lasts much longer than the time it takes to tidy up and replace belongings. We want to try and prevent this type of crime from happening at all and the public can play a huge part in helping us to help them!”

DCI Haskins added:

“Fortunately, employing some really simple measures goes an awfully long way to helping to beat the burglars"

"Particularly making sure you are locking up properly. Statistics show that being a member of your local Neighbourhood Watch means you’re 1/6 times less likely to be burgled, so it’s worth joining.”

Police officer and victim

Case study:

A 36 year-old woman from the Redfield area of Bristol was the victim of opportunist thieves. She and her husband were in bed asleep at home, when thieves broke into the property by using a metal lever to undo the catch on the front door, which hadn’t been locked with a key.

“We didn’t lock the door with the key, we just shut it and, although you couldn’t just walk in, it seems that it was really easy for the thieves to use something to just bypass the catch.

“I’m ok, I’m more annoyed that we live in an age where we have to lock our doors to keep strangers out. My husband was very upset about the thought of someone in our home.

“We do feel more vulnerable now though. We are buying a new front door and now we always lock the door by turning the key and putting the chain on.”

We urge you to property mark your valuables and make the details viewable to the police by registering them on the Immobilise website. You can register your belongings for free, improving the chance of getting them back if they are lost or stolen.

For top tips to help beat the burglars see our advice page on keeping your home secure

Important: If you suspect you are being burgled, you must call 999 straight away and wait in a safe place for help to arrive. Do not enter your property if there is a chance the suspect is still inside.