A project to help ‘vulnerable’ people protect their homes from criminals will see anti-burglary packs delivered to more than 600 homes in Runcorn from this week (28 Sept)

Organised by Runcorn Local Policing Unit (LPU) as part of its multi-faceted approach to tackling burglary offences, the initiative has been boosted by a £4,000 Tesco Bags of Help grant and donations from two housing associations.

Halton Borough Council, Halton Housing and Onward Homes have all donated to the Protecting Vulnerable People From Burglary project.

Their housing officers will join police officers and PCSOs in delivering anti-burglary packs to elderly and vulnerable Runcorn residents from Monday 28 September.

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Community Safety, Cllr Dave Cargill, said: “This is a great scheme which can only have a positive effect in the partnership’s efforts to reduce crime in the most vulnerable communities. We are pleased to give it our backing.”

The packs contain:
• Window alarms and door chimes to immediately alert homeowners of a break-in
• Lights timer switches to give would-be burglars the impression that someone is at home when there isn’t
• SelectaDNA liquid to enable people to mark their property with a unique DNA identifier so that the police can easily trace it back to them in the event of it being stolen and recovered
• A magnifying glass to enable all residents to read the ID of anyone who calls at their home
• Leaflets detailing Cheshire Constabulary’s advice on how residents can reduce their chances of becoming a victim of burglary.

Detective Sergeant Rob McLoughlin, of Runcorn LPU, said: “The project was devised last year following a spike in burglary incidents in Runcorn in which the victims tended to be vulnerable residents.

“It ties in with Operation Shield, a forcewide initiative to tackle burglary offences.

“Burglary is a serious offence in which victims are targeted at their own home, which is the place that they should be able to feel most safe.

“We have a multi-faceted approach to tackling burglary offences which involves education, awareness and various forms of action to prevent burglaries and bring offenders to justice.

“This project gives us another string to our bow in that regard, with the anti-burglary packs proving vulnerable residents with key tools to lessen the chances of them becoming victims.

“The packs have been funded by a Tesco Bags of Help grant – which we were awarded for the Protecting Vulnerable People From Burglary project following a public vote

“I can’t thank the housing associations, Council, Tesco and the people who voted for the project to receive a grant from the supermarket chain enough for their help and support and we are looking forward to delivering the anti-burglary packs from next week to Runcorn residents we have identified as being vulnerable.”

David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, added: “This project will support so many vulnerable Runcorn residents to protect their homes from burglars.
“It is a deeply upsetting experience being the victim of a burglary and I know that Cheshire Constabulary does extensive work to tackle burglary offences.
“However, there is only so much that the police can do.
“These new anti-burglary packs will give residents important tools to protect their own homes in the run up to a period which traditionally sees an increase in burglaries, with the nights drawing in and Christmas approaching.”
Halton Housing Customer Engagement Officer Debbie Jameson said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Protecting Vulnerable People From Burglary project, which many of our customers will benefit from.
“As well as ensuring that our homes are safe and secure, as a large landlord in the borough we recognise that we have an active part to play in the wider community in helping to reduce burglaries and crime in general.”
Onward Homes’ Safer Neighbourhood Specialist Kevin Byrne added: “We are working closely with Cheshire Constabulary to provide tenants in Runcorn with anti-burglary packs in an effort to reduce the risk of burglary and enable them to feel safer within their own homes.
“The programme is due to begin next week and selected tenants will be notified.
“Customers should contact Onward Homes on 0300 555 0600 with any questions.”
The destinations of a large proportion of the anti-burglary packs have already been decided.
However, if anyone wants to make an enquiry about getting one for themselves or a family member they should email dawn.taylor@cheshire.pnn.police.uk with their name, age, address and any additional information they feel is relevant.
Cheshire Constabulary’s anti-burglary advice includes:
When you are at home
• All windows should be closed and all doors should be locked even when you are inside your home or in the garden
• Use the security measures on modern windows, which allow them to let some air in but still be locked
• Never leave your car keys, house keys, purse or wallet on display near a door, window or cat flap – a thief can hook keys and other valuables through even a small opening
• Keep all valuables out of sight of prying eyes
• Do not let anyone you don’t know into your home who calls unexpectedly – if you do answer the door, make sure you have it on the chain and ask for identification
• Always check the identity of doorstep callers by telephoning the company they are claiming to be from – use the number listed in your local phonebook or on the company’s website, never use a number the doorstep caller gives you.
When you are going out
• Make sure that all of your doors and windows are closed and locked, even if you are only going out for a few minutes
• Double lock any door
• Make sure that any valuables remain out of sight
• Never leave car documents or ID in obvious places, such as kitchens or hallways
• In the evening, shut the curtains and leave lights on
• If you are out all day it is advisable to use a timer device to automatically turn lights and a radio on at night
• Set your burglar alarm – you need to make sure that it has been installed properly and works
• Make sure side gates are locked
• Lock your bike inside a secure shed or garage, to a robust fitting bolted to the ground or wall, like a ground anchor.
When going away on holiday
• If you are off on holiday and wish to post anything about it on social media, make sure your posts are not public and that they are only seen by your friends
• Leave lights and a radio on a timer to make your home appear occupied
• Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property, or join a neighbourhood or resident watch scheme
• Consider asking your neighbours to close curtains after dark and to park on your drive
• Remember to cancel newspaper and milk deliveries.
Other anti-burglary tips
• Always avoid keeping large amounts of cash in your home
• If you are replacing or fitting new doors and windows, get ones that are certified to British Standard BS7950 (windows) or PAS 24-1 (doors)
• Fit mortise locks (Kitemarked BS3621) to all front and back doors, as well as locks to all windows which are easy to reach
• Never leave a garage, shed or other outbuilding unlocked and easy prey for opportunist thieves
• Fit strong padlocks to outbuilding doors and make sure that the doors are solid enough not to be kicked in
• Good external security lighting can put off or draw attention to a thief/burglar – motion-activated flood lights and high efficiency low energy lighting controlled by a dusk-to-dawn switch are advised
• If you have external security lighting that comes on when sensing movement, make sure that the lights are directed downwards to prevent them from being annoying to neighbours and dangerous to passing traffic
• Strong fencing or gates will make it difficult for intruders to get onto your land
• Solid fences or walls, particularly those with a flat or rounded top, are relatively easy for a burglar to climb over – fixing trellising to the top will make it more difficult
• Check for weak spots where a thief could get onto your land, such as a low or sagging fence or a back gate with a weak lock
• A thorny hedge along the boundary of your property can put thieves off, as can gravel areas due to the noise of walking on them.
More advice is available online at https://www.cheshire.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/residential-burglary.