Chief Inspector Alan Hutton says the PSNI in Londonderry and Strabane mount targeted patrols to try to deter burglars but warns people need to take action themselves to guard against unscrupulous criminals who often prey on the old and vulnerable.
He said: “If you have ever been a victim of burglary or known someone who has been burgled then you will know that it is a horrible experience that leaves you feeling insecure in the one place where you should always feel safe.
“Burglars and thieves will always look for the easiest opportunity so an unlocked door or a window left open is an invitation to the opportunistic criminal. Sadly they will also look to target an older or more vulnerable person so for example, an older person living alone or someone who lives in an isolated area.
“While we carry out targeted patrols and put in place operations to deter burglars there are practical steps you can take to keep your homes and property safe.
“You can help by keeping an eye on your neighbours and if you notice suspicious activity around their homes or vehicles that don’t seem quite right then phone us straight away on 101 or dial 999 in an emergency.
“Take the opportunity this week to call in with a neighbour who is perhaps older and lives alone or maybe it’s someone you know who lives in a more rural area. This is not about causing unnecessary panic but instead providing some reassurance.
“We have specialist officers who are there to provide advice and guidance so if you feel a neighbour requires some extra support in terms of their home security get in touch with our Crime Prevention officer or local policing team who can provide further assistance.
“We want every member of our community to feel safe and protected while also being enabled and encouraged to feel in control of their own security and safety. You can help us by taking practical steps to protect your home and your family.”