Isle of Man News - POSTED Mon 08-01-2018

Police act to deter winter burglaries and thefts

by LC

Police are conducting a campaign to reduce break-ins and thefts of valuable commodities such as fuel.

Operation Oxygen is timed for winter, when dark nights can see a spike in such crimes.

Bill Malarkey MHK, Minister for Home Affairs, said: ‘Domestic and business property owners are encouraged to observe sensible steps to avoid their premises being targeted by burglars and thieves, with heart-breaking and costly consequences.

‘High-visibility patrols are being conducted across the Island, with police officers speaking with pedestrians and motorists, where appropriate.

‘Officers are checking outlying and vulnerable properties and vehicles during routine patrols, contacting owners where there are concerns.
‘Information from communities, which are at the heart of the neighbourhood policing approach, is also assisting us.’

Detective Inspector Neil Craig, of the Isle of Man Constabulary Criminal Investigation Department, said: ‘Burglaries can have a devastating effect, as victims can lose their confidence and peace of mind as well as their money and possessions.’

He said property owners could take simple steps to make themselves less vulnerable, including fitting security lights and visible alarms, ensuring gates to rear yards or gardens are locked, leaving lights on and blinds or curtains closed, so burglars can’t see in, keeping plants trimmed so burglars have nowhere to hide and locking away ladders, bins etc so they can’t be used to assist in a break-in.

Thieves can strike when property owners are at home and the advice is to fit door chains and, if doors are solid, wide angle viewers, so callers can be seen.

Vet callers before allowing them in by asking for, and checking, identities while they wait outside and verifying, in the phone book or online, that phone numbers offered by callers are authentic.

Do not admit anyone seeking to use a toilet or borrow something in an ‘emergency’, a technique used by distraction burglars. Instead direct them to a public place.

Contact police if you have concerns over a caller, giving a complete description of them and any vehicle they have.

DI Craig continued: ‘Thieves can also use the cover of darkness to steal fuel from vehicles and storage tanks and this can have a massive financial impact on householders and businesses.’

Police advise vehicle owners to keep them in secure or well-lit areas overnight and fit alarms and locking fuel caps. Businesses with vehicles should also consider fitting anti-syphoning devices, parking them against solid objects, so fuel tanks can’t be accessed, and ensuring CCTV cameras are suitably positioned.

Using fuel cards rather than storing fuel and deploying out of hours checks on vehicles, are also recommended.

To report a crime or suspicious activity, ring Police Headquarters on 01624 631212, or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, phone the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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