HOW burglar-proof is your house?
That’s the question police are asking Huddersfield householders in a major new initiative to curb an alarming crime trend.
While all other types of crime in the Kirklees district fell last year, burglaries were up 3%.
About a third are committed by people breaking into houses where doors or windows are left open or unlocked.
Combating burglary is a force priority for West Yorkshire Police, but they believe people are failing to heed advice about basic crime prevention measures.
In a bid to get the message across, officers are now knocking on doors to tell householders if their homes are vulnerable – and what action they can take to keep themselves safe.
“We do have problems with insecure properties being targeted by opportunistic thieves and it’s all about removing the temptation for them,” said Insp Dave Stainthorpe, who is in charge of efforts to bring down burglaries in Kirklees.
“People seem to think that it will never happen to them until it does. We just want to give out some basic crime prevention advice.”
In the first of a series of initiatives, officers from Huddersfield North Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) knocked on doors in Sheepridge yesterday.
They were checking locks on doors and windows and looking at other security measures.
Officers were joined by Howard Fanning, fire and police liaison officer for Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH).
KNH is carrying out a multi-million pound programme to replace vulnerable doors on more than 20,000 properties.
He said: “Burglary costs us a fortune as an organisation, but it’s the emotional side of things that really hurts and has the highest impact.
“It’s in everybody’s interests to put measures in place to make homes as safe as possible.”
Police say householders can take the following basic steps to make sure they are as safe as possible:
Lock doors and windows, even when you’re at home.
Remove door and car keys from view when you go to bed.
Put security devices called sash jammers on doors and windows to prevent them from being forced open.
Mum-of-five Precious Zirebwa, 34, was one of the tenants who was visited as part of yesterday’s patrols.
Mrs Zirebwa, of Ruskin Grove, said:
“They told me I needed some new locks on the windows.
“We have had some problems round here. My friend was burgled and they took her TV, laptop, everything.
“It’s getting better, but I think it is a good thing for the police to come to talk to us.”
Insp Mohammed Rauf, who leads the NPT, said: “People have been very receptive and we will be doing this across the area to continue to get the message across.”