Suffolk: Police warn homeowners to secure their property as shocking figures reveal around 30% of burglaries are through unlocked doors and windows

Officers warn Bury St Edmunds residents following burglaries

Officers warn Bury St Edmunds residents following burglaries - Credit: Getty Images/Wavebreak Media

Burglars are being handed an open invitation to commit crime – with around 30% of all house break-ins being through unlocked doors and windows, new figures have revealed.

The startlingly statistic comes after a string of burglaries in east Ipswich which has left police calling on homeowners to “take responsibility” and keep their property secure.

Figures from a Freedom Information Request show last year that out of 1,674 burglaries in Suffolk, 457 were through criminals being able to get access through unlocked doors and windows.

Burglaries may be decreasing – in 2011 there were 1,989 recorded and 1,885 in 2012 – but police are still warning of the “devasting” impact it can have.

Bernie Morgan, temporary detective superintendent, said:“To be burgled is a crime that can have a devastating impact on someone’s life when their home, that they look upon as their castle, has been entered, searched and often treasured possessions stolen by a thief.

“It is a reality that around 30% of all burglaries take place when properties are left insecure and surprisingly this isn’t necessarily just in the summertime during warmer spells of weather when there is a tendency to leave windows open. Properties are left insecure throughout the year.”

Last year 984 burglaries came through access to a door; with on 595 occasions being windows being used to enter a property – both numbers are for unlocked and locked break-ins.

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Burglars even managed to break-in through some less obvious means. Between 2011-2013, five cat flaps and two dog flaps were used to gain access.

Det Supt Morgan added: ““We as a police force will do all we can to arrest those responsible for burglaries, by using the latest in forensic technology, interrogating CCTV, carrying out high visibility patrols and following up on any intelligence leads that we receive.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of people taking personal responsibility for their own and others property.”

Police advise any one seeing any suspicious activity to call 999. For advice on how to protect property call 101.

The constabulary has issued steps for homeowners to take:

– Fit secure locks to all doors and fit a door chain or bar

– Fit visible window locks, including rear or side windows and those above a low roof

– Visible burglar alarms make burglars think twice; get specialist advice and consult your insurance company

– Use timer switches to turn on lights and radios when you are out to give the impression that your home is occupied

– Be alert to strangers loitering in residential streets; if in doubt call the police

– Be aware of fire risks and means of escape. Make sure you have a smoke alarm fitted

– Never leave spare keys in a hiding place such as under a doormat, in a flowerpot or inside the letterbox

– Ensure valuables are suitably security marked; if not practicable, take photographs of valuable items and keep a note of any serial numbers. Ensure that handbags, wallets, mobile phones and car keys are kept safely in your bedroom at night. Some thieves purposely enter houses to take car keys in order to steal cars sat on the driveway

– Fit a strong, lockable gate across side passages

– Always leave garages and sheds locked

– Consider fitting an alarm to your garage or shed

– Keep any ladders locked

– Keep expensive garden equipment and furniture locked in a shed overnight or when you are away

– Provide good lighting and fit movement detectors

– Keep dustbins and wheel-bins away from fencing/gates, which access your property (these are used by thieves to easily climb over barriers).

Further information can also be found on the Suffolk police website: under home security.