A few simple steps is all it takes

21 October 2015

A new campaign launched today by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs) is encouraging the public to take a few simple steps to protect their home, their family, and their belongings from opportunistic crime. Approximately one third of domestic burglaries across Northern Ireland are committed because home owners leave doors and windows open. The campaign is designed to raise awareness of the crime prevention measures that can be taken to keep people and property safe, particularly for our older people.

Speaking about the campaign, Board Chair Anne Connolly said:

“Recent statistics show that domestic burglary, particularly against older people, is continuing to increase across Northern Ireland. This is a concern for the Board and we are fully supportive of this joint PSNI / PCSP campaign to raise awareness of the simple steps you can take to lessen your chances of falling victim to crime.

I would urge everyone to take heed of the prevention advice to better protect yourself, your family and your belongings. All it takes is changing a few simple things in your daily routine to help you and your family feel safer.”

Superintendent Simon Walls the Police Service of Northern Ireland operational lead for domestic burglary said: “Tackling domestic burglary remains of major importance for the Police Service. Our overall aim is to keep people safe and bring more offenders before the courts.

Unfortunately there were 606 domestic burglary incidents and attempted burglaries where people are aged over 60 from the 1 April – 31 August 2015 this is in comparison to 445 the previous year. To tackle this increase we have introduced a four strand approach when dealing with these incidents –these are investigative, operational, reassurance/preventative and partnership.

We know that domestic burglary is a crime that can have a high victim impact when a person’s home is broken into and their personal space invaded. The potentially significant impact of the loss of precious and personal items is fully recognised. We want people to feel safe within their own home and community but we also want them to be aware that thieves and burglars will seize any opportunity they can.

As part of our campaign we are asking people to work with their neighbours and keep an eye on your local neighbourhood. We need everybody’s help in ensuring that burglars do not get away with their crimes.”

Supporting the campaign Justice Minister David Ford MLA said:

“Fear of crime amongst the older generation is, unfortunately, very real and as Justice Minister I am committed to doing all I can to address this serious issue. My Department’s Community Safety Strategy includes a range of measures aimed at reducing fear among older and vulnerable people, and increasing their confidence and feelings of safety in their homes and local community.

As the recent statistics have shown a rise in the number of domestic burglaries against older people, this joint PSNI/PSCP initiative is particularly timely and I commend all those involved in developing the campaign. While there is a focus on the older generation in this campaign there are important messages for the entire community. Sadly we know all too well that some people will look for any opportunity to steal from others. By following the advice provided and taking some simple crime prevention steps people can help to reduce the risk to their families and property.”

The PSNI, working with the Commissioner for Older People is also launching the ‘Nominated Neighbour’ scheme. This is an initiative that if an unrecognised caller comes to the address of an older person when they are alone in the house, the caller will be handed a card instructing them to contact their ‘Nominated Neighbour’, who will then try and check the caller’s identity.

Speaking at the launch, Evelyn Hoy, Chief Executive, The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland said:

“Crime against older people is universally condemned across our society and although the level of burglary against older people is relatively low in Northern Ireland, each incident is traumatic for the victim and causes fear amongst the wider population.

The Commissioner welcomes the PSNI campaign and is encouraging neighbours and relatives to get involved with the ‘Nominated Neighbour’ scheme and assist older members of the community to feel safe from unwanted callers in their homes. The Commissioner hopes that it will increase older people's confidence in their neighbours and communities, and so reducing opportunities for bogus callers to prey on older people.

We must all do everything we can to reduce crime and the fear of crime so that older people can live safe, confident and content lives in their own homes and communities.”

Chair of Belfast PCSP, Councillor Matt Garrett added:

“This type of crime is a problem across all Districts and we are delighted that Belfast PCSP, in partnership with our colleagues across the 11 regional PCSPs, are in a position to support this campaign.

The support of all regional PCSPs will give the campaign a local focus and help not only to increase awareness of domestic burglary in each area, but also highlight the important role PCSPs have in making communities safer. Belfast PCSP will be delivering support, awareness and education events across Belfast to coincide with this campaign.”

To find out more about how you can protect ‘your home, your family and your belongings’ you should contact your Local Policing Team, Crime Prevention Officer or local PCSP through the council.

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For further information, please contact the Northern Ireland Policing Board’s Communications Office on 07801738795 or the Police Service of Northern Ireland Press Office on 028 9070 0084

Notes to editors

The Domestic Burglary campaign will run for three weeks commencing on Wednesday 21 October 2015
The campaign will comprise the placing of 48 sheets and Adshels across Northern Ireland. Social Media channels of both the Police Service and PCSP’s will also be used to promote the campaign. PCSPs will also be supporting the campaign through localised initiatives.
More information on how to protect your home, your family and your belongings is available from the PCSP website and the PSNI website.
PCSPs will be running awareness raising initiatives across Northern Ireland. Contact your PCSP in the local council area for details.

Notes to editors ends