Kenilworth Watch are pleased and appreciative that Warwickshire Police have responded very promptly to concerns it raised concerning the increase in car key burglaries across the town and wider area.
It’s clear that Warwickshire Police are ‘on the case’ giving it priority and encouragingly making arrests which will give residents the reassurance they need. However, Kenilworth Watch are also stressing the need for homeowners to do all they can by taking steps to deter criminals from attempting to burgle their homes and/or steal their vehicles. “It’s not all down to the police and we all need to understand we have to, in our actions, behaviour and the steps we take help ourselves to be less likely of becoming a victim of crime” a Kenilworth Watch spokesperson said.
Warwickshire Police have told Kenilworth Watch that nationally, regionally and locally there is an increase in the number of car key burglary offences. The target for those responsible appears to be high value vehicles often located in rural or semi-rural towns and villages. However, the Head of Local Policing for Warwickshire, Chief Superintendent Alex Franklin-Smith, stressed “Whilst we are not seeing evidence of those responsible intent on using violence to commit such offences, I do not underestimate the fear that residents will have irrespective of the intentions of the offenders. All types of burglary are of the utmost importance to us as your local Force.”
The Chief Superintendent has also told Kenilworth Watch
“I can confirm we have an operation (Operation Geode) currently targeting dwelling burglary offences across the county and in recent weeks we have had a number of excellent results leading to persistent and prolific offenders receiving substantial custodial sentences.”
In response to the three car key burglaries that took place in Kenilworth on the 6 October Ch Supt Franklin-Smith added “The three offences that you reference in your correspondence are believed to be a new series that is not linked to any offences elsewhere in the county. A vehicle stolen in one of these incidents has since been found and recovered from a location within the West Midlands policing area. Cross border enquires with West Midlands Police are ongoing. We have a team of officers dedicated to tackling this crime type whose working shifts regularly change in order to reflect the relevant times of the day that these offences are taking place. This team is supported by targeted patrols from our 24/7 response teams and local Safer Neighbourhood Teams. Patrols include both marked and unmarked police vehicles as part of our strategy to identify offenders and prevent further offences taking place. To ensure that we are truly joined up, regular tasking and coordination meetings take place at local, regional, and national level. Regionally, I can confirm car key burglary offences are a current priority with all of the West Midlands Forces (Warwickshire, West Mercia, West Midlands, Staffordshire) working together in an effort to enhance our collective response.”
Ch Supt Franklin-Smith also said he valued the work that Kenilworth Watch does and what he said was its ‘ongoing efforts to reassure the Kenilworth community’.
Kenilworth Watch advises residents to review their own home security and consider what additional steps, if any, they could take to deter criminals. Our suggestions are as follows:
- Consider ‘approach triggered’ security lighting
- ‘Monitored’ burglar alarms (ADT etc) certainly deter – they cost less than £30 a month – what price your home, property and peace of mind? When you go to bed at night you can activate the zones that you don’t sleep in, meaning the ground floor or other areas can be alarmed while you sleep soundly.
- Don’t leave keys in the locks of doors inside your home – as a smashed window will enable easy access
- Fit additional protection to patio doors such as a ‘Patlock’ – available for less than £50 from Robert Dyas or Argos.
- Check the robustness of your doors and windows and attend to any weaknesses or need to replace
- Would a gate be an option, it’s not possible for some properties, but for those where one could be installed it’s certainky a further deterrent.
- Home CCTV and remote monitoring by smartphone – there are several systems that are available and most a now reasonably priced. The Which magazine compares what each system provides and the “ Best Buys”.
- Do not place vehicle keys immediately inside the front or rear doors of your home.
- If your vehicle has a ‘keyless’ operating system consider putting the keys inside a metal container when at home and as far away from the vehicle as possible.
- Ideally high value vehicles should be fitted with a vehicle tracker
- Park your vehicle so it’s not easy to drive away – ie: if you have two cars protect a high value vehicle by parking your other vehicle behind it and boxing it in.
- Position security lighting to activate if an approach is made towards where your vehicle is parked.
- Don’t leave valuables on show or even in the vehicle – always take them inside.
- Consult your vehicle’s manufacturer/dealer to check if there are any security updates or additional measures you can apply to your vehicle.
Taking all appropriate measures to protect our own property and the police doing all they can to detect and prevent crime are equal parts in successfully reducing crime. Those that ignore crime prevention advice and who subsequently become a victim of crime often kick themselves for not having taken preventative action and in some respects they can have unwittingly helped an offender commit the crime by their inaction. Of course it’s the police’s role to protect life and property but we each need to take responsibility ourselves too because “it’s not all down to someone else” We each need to play our part.
Kenilworth Watch raised the issue of car key burglaries with Warwickshire Police after three such incidents took place over one night on the 6 October. We sought reassurance that the matter was receiving attention and priority but we also took the opportunity to commend the excellent work and high profile of Kenilworth’s two Police Community Support Officers Craig Ricardo and Carl Whitehouse.