A POLICE crackdown on sneak-in burglaries aims to give Bridlington residents a wake-up call about house crime.
Officers and PCSOs from the Neighbourhood Policing Team are visiting areas of the town in the dead of night to make sure that residents are not making life easy for criminals by leaving their doors and windows open or unlocked.
If officers spot an open ground floor window, they will post a leaflet warning the householders not to leave their home insecure – because the next late-night visit may be from a burglar, not a police officer.
The Free Press joined PC Simon Stabler and PCSOs Liz Smith and Kaz Hoyle on a late-night patrol of streets which have been targeted by opportunist burglars in recent weeks, including the Saints area, Queensgate and the Hilderthorpe Road area.
Almost a quarter of all burglaries in Bridlington over the last two months have happened when a house has been insecure, and the recent overnight patrol revealed an alarming number of homes with open ground floor windows.
In the crescent off St Thomas Road, four out of the five bungalows had open windows, giving easy access to any opportunist thief.
One resident, Brian Thorne, had a large front bedroom window open and he appreciated the night-time warning from PC Stabler.
He said: “I think it is a good idea to remind people, especially for the elderly because they are more vulnerable.
“If someone gets into my home I’ll protect it, but it makes sense not to make it easy for burglars.”
PC Stabler explained why the patrols were important: “When people think of a burglar they think of somebody dressed in black with a sack of swag over their shoulders and using tools to break into houses,” he said.
“But the reality isn’t like that at all.
“It’s actually very rare for someone to break into a house and ransack the place, most burglars are opportunists.
“They’ll see an open window and inside there might be a bag or a phone or set of car keys and they’ll simply reach into the house or climb through the window and then they’re away.All we want to say to people is don’t make it easy for them.”
St Thomas Road resident Derek Taylor had left a downstairs side window open and PC Stabler pointed out to him how easy it would be for a thief to climb in.
He said: “Because the window is right over the other side of the house, you’d be sat in your living room watching the television and would be none-the-wiser that somebody could’ve been through the window and taken anything from your bedroom within minutes.”
Mr Taylor agreed and said: “It is a bathroom window and we’d left it open to let steam out, we were going to shut it later but it does make you realise how easy it would have been for someone to climb through and we wouldn’t have had a clue.”
Similar calls were made to residents along Nightingale Road, with one resident, Rob Parker admitting that he regularly left his windows open all night.
“I’d never really thought about how easy that makes it for somebody to break in,” he said. But I’ll definitely think about it now – I think the police are doing a great job pointing this out to people.”
His view was echoed by mother-of-three, Kimberley Cook of Hamilton Road who had left a downstairs kitchen window open large enough for a determined burglar to climb through.
She said: “I’m actually really bad at closing my windows and when somebody comes along and points it out to you it’s quite scary to think that somebody could have got into my house so easily tonight.”
PCSOs Liz Smith and Kaz Hoyle were surprised at the number of houses which had easily accessible windows open for anyone to see.
“It’s frightening really,” said PCSO Smith. “Especially for the elderly who are that much more vulnerable. We just want people to be more aware of how simple things like shutting and locking doors and windows will make them less likely to be a target for burglars.
PCSO Hoyle added: “People think it won’t happen to them, but this is a wake-up call.”