Convicted burglars advise police

Editorial image
Editorial image

Convicted burglars are helping with crime prevention advice given out to homeowners about how to keep their houses secure and their possessions safe.

The Force Crime Prevention Officer from West Yorkshire Police’s Force Performance Improvement Unit has been interviewing offenders about what they look for while committing crimes. The interviews enable a greater insight into burglars’ knowledge, and how that information can be used to reduce crime in the future.

Some of the comments given by the offenders are below:

“Lighting on upstairs puts me off, because you don’t know if someone is in or not. If people left upstairs lights on then you wouldn’t really take a chance on that”

“They (people) should hide valuables and have nothing on show. Why would I go into a house if I didn’t know there was anything in there worth having?”

“People should lock their doors, have good locks on windows and take the keys out of the doors when they’ve locked them. If I can see something through the kitchen window then I might smash the window, unlock the door and take the stuff”

“I think people are more security conscious than ever, but they still leave doors and windows unlocked or open. This is a simple thing that would help to put a burglar off or otherwise it’s easy for us and you’re done, dusted and gone before they realise”

“You can tell if folk are on holiday. All the blinds are closed or there’s mail in the letterbox, papers sticking out or milk on the step sometimes. I just look through the window to see if I can see mail on the floor. If the blinds are closed a few days on the trot you know they’re away”

“I’ve never done a house when I’ve seen the TV on ‘cos you know someone is in.”

“A lot of lads may target a home based on the type of vehicle parked outside it. Most people advertise what cars they have as they don’t use their garages to park them in. They leave other stuff in there”

“Sometimes you get opportunities if you’re walking an area. Someone might leave their house as you’re passing and you know for a fact they haven’t set their alarm as you can’t hear it setting itself”

The interviews have also shown how offenders got into their lives of crime, and how their criminal careers developed. This information is being used in other departments across the Force.

Some of the reasons why offenders started to burgle houses were to fund drug habits, or simply because they got in with “the wrong crowd” and it was an easy way to make money.

The interviews were done ahead of West Yorkshire Police Spring/Summer burglary campaign which is launched next month.

Force Crime Prevention Officer Chris Joyce said: “It’s vital that we understand an offender’s approach to their ‘business’, if we are to be as effective as possible in ours.

“Getting into the mind of a burglar makes you realise how simple and easy it can be to prevent crime in the first place. The knowledge passed on is extremely helpful, and will help us keep our communities safe, reduce criminal activity, and deter those people thinking of committing crimes

“If we can learn from individuals who commit burglary then all the better. It not only demonstrates the importance of existing preventative messages, but also generates other pertinent thoughts on how we can all take simple steps to reduce the opportunity for crime to occur at our homes. Preventing crime doesn’t necessarily have to cost a fortune, and it’s important that it becomes everyone’s business”