Cumbria Constabulary have today revealed the contents of a local criminal’s Christmas list after collating the items that are most commonly stolen around the county.
The top twelve items have been revealed just a few days after Christmas as police round up the numbers of stolen items that have been taken during burglaries and thefts in 2012.
The top 12 items on a criminals’ Christmas list all share common traits – they are easily snatched from insecure cars or properties. They can also be invaluable to their owners – not just in monetary terms but also in terms of sentiment, especially where jewellery is concerned; and also in terms of personal data – when contact information or bank information is stored on phones, computers or in handbags.
Here are the top 12 items on a Cumbrian Criminal’s Christmas list:
3. Mobile phones
4. Computers (including tablets and iPads)
9. Sat Navs
11. Other electrical items
12. Car keys
Jewellery has scooped the number one spot on the list with police receiving 393 reports that jewellery had been stolen during burglaries at peoples’ homes this year.
Money comes a close second with 246 instances of money being stolen from dwelling burglaries in 2012. Forty one separate instances of money being stolen during thefts from insecure vehicles and property were also recorded.
Detective Chief Inspector Lee Johnson said “As people begin to pack up Christmas for another year and clear out the unwanted boxes from their latest gadgets and gizmos, we want to remind them to be sensible and not advertise their new gifts to criminals.
“Take the boxes and packaging of electrical or expensive items to the tip rather than putting them outside your home as this can act as an advertisement to opportunist thieves. Or at the least, collapse your boxes and wait until the day of your rubbish collection to put them out.
“The items that are in most demand by thieves are the things that are easily taken so please bear this in mind. Items like jewellery, money, mobile phones or iPads that are lying around on work tops, window sills or dashboards are easy prey for an opportunist criminal who’s desperate to make some money.
“Electrical items such as power tools can also be easy pickings if your sheds or outhouses are insecure. I’d urge everyone to double check their security when they’re putting their Christmas decorations and gifts away for another year.”
There are precautions that you can take to ensure that your new year isn’t blighted by criminals:
· Never leave your new presents in sight of a doorway or window - this is an open advertisement to potential burglars
· Lock your doors and windows of your home and vehicles
· Don’t put empty boxes or packaging outside your home to advertise what new gadgets or gifts you’ve received
· Use timer switches for lights and radios when you leave your home to celebrate over New Year
· Contact police to help security mark all your new electrical and valuable gifts
· Take advantage of the free bike marking events to prevent thieves taking your bicycles
· If you have a house alarm, ensure it works and use it
· Secure outhouses and sheds
· If you are going away over New Year, ask someone you trust to keep an eye on your home
· Look after your neighbours and report ANY suspicious activity, people or vehicles to police immediately on 101.
DCI Johnson continues “Insecurity is the main factor in thefts and burglaries in Cumbria. Thieves will walk down a street or through a cul-de-sac and try a row of doors on vehicles and houses.
“When they find one open, they will take anything they can find or easily steal. By simply making sure doors are locked we can make their lives harder and, more importantly, keep hold of our precious possessions and new Christmas gifts.
“We are urging everyone to take time to consider their security to help ensure they have a safe and happy 2013.”
For more information or advice on how to keep yourself and your homes and property safe, please visit www.cumbria.police.uk or speak to your local policing team by calling 101.