In the last two months, since September 2023, some of Merseyside’s most callous and hardened burglars have been sentenced to a total of more than 16 years behind bars.
Merseyside Police’s dedicated burglary team, known as Operation Castle, have welcomed these sentences but they would like to remind members of the public to remain vigilant and ensure their home is secure as the nights draw in.
Some simple advice to keep your home and possessions safe:
- Keep valuables out of sight
- Remember to lock all your doors and windows, even if you are at home
- Fit outside security lighting
- Report any suspicious people or vehicles in your neighbourhood. Many crimes are prevented, and people arrested after members of the public report unusual or suspicious activity to Merseyside Police
- People who have UPVC doors are reminded to fully secure them. If you simply lift the handle, you will NOT fully engage all of the locks into the frame. You MUST also double lock the door using the key
- Remember to remove keys from doors once they are locked
- Don’t advertise new items you may have bought such as electrical equipment to people by leaving the empty boxes outside your home
- Try to dispose of the packaging carefully by taking it to a recycling centre or keep it out of sight until the day your rubbish is collected
- During the dark nights, use a light timing device to switch the lights on
- Don’t leave your car keys on display (on window ledges/worktops) and don’t leave them by doors or windows where they could be grabbed with a hook or cane
- If you own a vehicle that uses keyless locks, ensure you keep the fob in a Faraday bag or shielded container
- Always check your front and back door are secure even if you are in, burglaries can often occur via insecure back doors whilst residents are at home
- Secure your shed and garage properly. Don’t leave tools lying around these could be used to help offender gain entry to your home
- Register the serial numbers of your electronic devices on www.immobilise.com
- Back up your photographs and saved work from electronics on cloud storage or safely stored hard drives/USBs
Further advice on how to keep your valuable safe and secure; marking your property to deter burglars, and a checklist when leaving the home can be found here: https://www.merseyside.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/residential-burglary/
Detective Inspector Kevin O’Rourke from Operation Castle said: “We are determined to keep putting burglars behind bars, so it is pleasing to see these offenders being given custodial sentences by the courts. Between January and September this year, we have seen a seven percent reduction in burglaries when compared with the same period last year, but we also see signs that criminals are taking advantage of the darker autumn nights.”
Detective Inspector Kevin O’Rourke added: “Between them, these burglars have targeted people’s homes and shown no regard for those people and their possessions. Burglary is an invasive crime, and it can be difficult for victims to come to terms with offenders having entered their homes to steal items, which don’t always have huge monetary value, but on a personal level can be irreplaceable.
“The Victim Care Merseyside hub offers support for all victims of crime in Merseyside, and I would urge anyone who is struggling in the aftermath of a burglary or any other crime, to contact the hub for advice and support. You can call Freephone 0808 175 3080 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. or submit a contact form on the Victim Care Merseyside website.
“Many burglaries are preventable because offenders are often opportunistic. It is important that people take home security seriously and several simple measures will make life difficult for potential burglars.
“Criminals will often try dozens of handles on doors and windows in a street hoping to find at least one that opens easily – make sure yours isn’t one. And remember to make sure you lock the door when you are at home as well as when you go out.
“Don’t advertise your things to criminals – keep laptops and other valuables out of sight and remember to register your electronics and back up any work saved on them.
“Modern video surveillance cameras, including smart doorbells, can be very useful, particularly those with cloud-based apps, but you should check the guidance on the Information Commissioner’s Office website when installing CCTV at home.”
The support of our communities is vital in helping us put offenders behind bars. If you discover video footage on your home security camera or smart doorbell that shows someone acting suspiciously on your property, you can upload it for the attention of the Operation Castle team here:
You can share any other information you think is useful via our social media desk on X @MerPolCC or Facebook ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’.
You can also pass information via Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org