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Help us prevent burglaries in St Albans district

14 Oct 2021
  • The St Albans district has a tough stance on burglars who sadly take advantage of unlit homes as the nights draw in.

  • Lock all windows and doors, use timer switches and consider investing in alarms, CCTV or doorbell cams.

  • Download the new OWL app - search the App Store or Google Play for ‘OWL crime alerts.’

As the nights draw in, sadly burglars take advantage of unlit homes to carry out their offending but rest assured the St Albans district has a tough stance on tackling burglars.

“We need your help to make sure we make burglars unwelcome,” said St Albans district Detective Inspector Ady Lysak. “Most burglars are opportunist. Please make sure you lock all windows and doors when you go out, use timer switches on lights, consider investing in alarms, CCTV or doorbell cams, and report any suspicious behaviour. We would rather respond to a call with good intention than miss the opportunity to catch a burglar in the act.”

He said: “We have robust plans in place including both overt and covert police patrols to prevent burglaries across the St Albans district and we know who some of our burglars are, so we keep an extra eye on them.”

Between July 2020 and June 2021, 38 per cent of burglaries in St Albans, Harpenden and London Colney occurred during October and January with ‘hot’ times between 3pm and 8pm.

If you are burgled, what exactly can burglary victims expect from the police?

When someone dials 999 to report a burglary, with intruders still at the address, all available police units will attend. Some officers will go to the address whilst back up officers will do an area search in the nearby streets and if appropriate, will call on the assistance of the tri-force police helicopter and dog units to help track down the burglars.

When a burglary is discovered retrospectively, officers will attend and take a crime report from the victim and conduct an initial investigation, including statements, initial house-to-house enquiries, crime scene preservation and they will offer victim support. Scenes of crime officers may attend to obtain forensic evidence. The Local Crime Unit will take on the investigation to preserve evidence, see if there are any similarities to other burglaries and identify potential offenders. They will also gather CCTV and review information (intelligence).

Officers will also look at the type of burglary, for example if they specifically targeted an address for high value gold or high value vehicles, whether it is a daytime or night-time burglary, any series or ‘hotpots’, how they got into the address (the MO modus operandi) whether it was via the front or back of the property and whether they conducted a tidy or untidy search.

Officers will also be supported by other departments across the Force and work closely with other Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) and neighbouring forces as well as our Special Constables (volunteers with full police powers). Some of the work is overt but a lot of it is covert, including the use of analysts to look back historically to predict where the hotspots may be, to help allocate police resources.

The best thing we can do is prevent burglaries happening in the first place. Securely lock all windows and doors, including double locking PVCu doors and give your home a ‘lived-in’ look.

DI Lysak added: “Car keys should be kept out of sight as sometimes vehicles are stolen after thieves managed to steal keys placed close to letter boxes or insecure windows and doors, enabling them to drive vehicles away without having to break into them.

“Please report information online, speak to an operator in our Force Communications Room via our online web chat or call the non-emergency number 101. Please do not report crime on social media. We need to be made aware straight away so we have the best chance of catching the offenders and preventing further offences.”

If you see any suspicion behaviour or suspect a crime is in progress, call 999.

You can follow the work of local officers on Facebook and Twitter @StAlbansPolice to see what action is being taken on a daily basis to help keep the district a safe place to live, work and visit.

Download the new OWL app to keep up to date with police news on the go. No registration is needed. To get the app, search the App Store or Google Play for ‘OWL crime alerts’ or use these links Google Play (opens in a new window) or App Store (opens in a new window) .

Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report information online (opens in a new window).

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