Thames Valley Police launched an operation to target criminals responsible for burglaries in Cherwell and West Oxfordshire yesterday (Monday, October 23).
Operation Jetsam, which runs from October 23-27, aims to remind residents to take basic home security measures to keep their home safe but also to target burglars in hot-spot areas.
Leaflets with helpful tips will be distributed in Bretch Hill in Banbury all week while police officers will be at Banbury market on Thursday giving advice on home security.
Detective Sergeant Adrian Brooksbank from Witney police station said: “As the darker evenings approach this operation is aimed at targeting our communities with vital but basic information to keep their homes and belongings safe.
“While Thames Valley generally has low crime rates, a house in darkness indicates that there’s no one at home and it could be an invitation to a burglar.
“There are a lot of simple measures you can do, which don’t have to be expensive, such as using a timer so that a light automatically comes on while you are out.
Many people only think about home security after they have been burgled. We want to encourage people to review this before they fall victim to crime.Det Sgt Adrian Brooksbank
“Many people only think about home security after they have been burgled.
“We want to encourage people to review this before they fall victim to crime.
“Operation Jetsam has been launched in Cherwell and West Oxfordshire local policing area specifically to target certain areas, educating the public but to target, arrest and convict those intent on committing these offences within our community.
“We are using various tactics including increased patrols, the mounted section will be in Banbury today and in Bicester on Wednesday and our Police Cadets will also be handing out leaflets to residents in Bretch Hill in Banbury throughout the week.
“We also have officers stationed in local markets in Banbury on Thursday and in Bicester on Friday and our mobile police station will also be stationed in Witney town centre on Saturday 28 October and Sunday 29 October giving advice on home security.
“Please feel free to come and chat to our officers.
“We know how this can affect the victims of these crimes and we are determined to target the offenders, reduce their opportunities to commit offences and support any victims of these crimes.
“I want to reassure our community that we will take all necessary action to protect them and their property. However, we cannot do this alone.
“We rely on information from our community. I guarantee that we will examine all information provided and where possible to take actions.”
Top tips to reduce the chance of your house being targeted from Thames Valley Police:
• Invest in a timer light switch and vary the time it comes on each day to make it look more natural. It can also be used with a radio or TV to give the impression someone is home
• Consider installing a fake/simulated TV device which lights up a room like a real TV
• Keep valuables out of sight and mark them with your house number and postcode using a UV pen, or consider buying a forensic property marking system
• Register your valuables via immobilse.com and keep an inventory list. It is free and takes just a few minutes
• If you have jewellery at home, photograph it for insurance purpose and consider storing it in a suitable safe
• Lock your doors and windows, if you have a UPVC door make sure you have double locked it by lifting the handle and locking it with the key. Make sure the key is removed from the lock and out of reach
• If you’re going away, remember not to post details of your holiday on social networking sites, cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries and if you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set before you leave
• Look out for your neighbours’ houses, especially when they’re not at home and call the police if you see anything suspicious on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Anyone with information should contact Thames Valley Police on 101 or through Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
For more information on how to protect your home and your belongings, visit Thames Valley Police’s website.