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Christmas – Advice

by Press Officer on 12 December, 2012

Christmas – Advice

Don’t leave your presents on show, either in your car or under your tree. Operation Cracker – click here

Staying safe at Christmas. The twelve days of Christmas – click here

A family in Brighton has just had all their presents stolen, and their car stolen following a burglary.

Click here to watch video of the victim talking about this really awful experience (sorry, but the sound quality is awful – someone has had a great idea, though)!

A mother who had all her family’s Christmas gifts stolen is advising others to take a few precautionary steps in order to avoid the same fate.

In a video interview for Sussex Police Jo Thomas from Brighton said: “We had gone away for a short break to Bruges and came back with all our Christmas gifts beautifully wrapped. On our return to Brighton we were delayed and it was really late when we finally got home. We left the presents in the lounge didn’t draw the curtains or deadlock the door. That night whilst we were asleep our house was burgled and every single gift was taken along with the family car that was parked outside the house.”

“The whole experience left us all feeling angry and violated and consequently ruined our Christmas. These were gifts that had been carefully chosen and paid for by our own hard earned money – it left such a bitter taste and I would not want anyone else to experience this type of burglary which we could have so easily avoided by deadlocking the door and drawing the curtains. I never thought I would be a victim of an opportunistic burglar but since it happened we now take no chances with our home security. I would advise all homeowners to get an intruder alarm fitted, always lock windows and doors and don’t leave your house or car keys in view and pull your curtains if you have gifts on display. Do everything you can which would make it more difficult for a burglar to get into your home.”

Detective Inspector Jacqui Shaw from the Priority Crime Unit in Brighton & Hove said: “With only 19 days until Christmas, we are focused on trying to protect people from burglars who target homes filled with gifts over the festive season. It is important that homeowners take simple precautions to protect themselves and their belongings.

“In the run up to the festive season, criminals are on the lookout for signs of expensive purchases such as visible presents underneath Christmas trees, packaging on display or old electronic goods left outside suggesting new replacements have been bought. Anyone can become a victim of burglary but poor home security is the factor that makes people most vulnerable.

“We have seen an increase in the number of burglaries taking place in Brighton & Hove recently and we are working to target prolific offenders. Already this year a number of significant burglars have been charged and are behind bars serving considerable sentences.

“We know that burglary is a crime which can have a lasting impact. As well as the financial implications, having your home burgled can leave people feeling really vulnerable.

“Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to us if you notice anyone acting suspiciously in your area – you can help us to prevent these offences by calling our non emergency number, 101, or dialling 999 if a crime is in progress.

“The most effective way to prevent becoming a victim of burglary is simple: secure your home and always remove high value items from view.”

Follow the tips below to keep your home safe and secure this Christmas:

  • Avoid leaving presents under the tree, particularly if visible from windows or doors.
  • Make use of free and secure registration websites to register items of value such as I.T., mobile phones, cycles, electrical items such as TVs, games consoles etc.
  • Dispose of present packaging carefully as empty boxes left outside can advertise that you have new and desirable goods inside your home.
  • Never keep large amounts of cash at home.
  • Ensure that all doors and windows are locked – use a dead or double lock on outside doors.
  • Lock up sheds and garages so thieves cannot gain access to ladders and tools which they could use to gain access to your home.
  • Never leave keys anywhere near the front door; burglars know where to look.
  • When you go out at night, consider leaving the lights on with curtains drawn so it looks like someone is home.
  • If you are away from home for extended periods of time then ask a friend to make regular visits and use a timer so that the house looks occupied.
  • If you do arrive home and notice signs of a break-in:
  • Don’t go in or call out – the intruder could still be inside.
  • Go to a neighbour’s to call the police.
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