In recent years, Lewisham police have noted that thieves are becoming quicker and cleverer.
The chances are that they won’t smash down a door – risky because of the noise this makes – but will use a credit card to “slip” a lock to quickly gain access. They also know that those living in blocks of flats are more likely to just have a Yale lock on the main door, and they therefore target these homes in particular because they can break in unobtrusively.
So if you live in Brockley, SE4, Deptford, SE8, Forest Hill, SE23, Lee, SE12, Lewisham, SE13, Catford, SE6, New Cross, SE14 or Sydenham, SE26, you may need to up your game, and make sure that you don’t become a crime statistic.
The solution for each household will vary, but it may be something as simple as adding window locks to your windows, or changing the lock on your front door to something more secure.
The head of Lewisham’s burglary squad has also urged residents to be on the lookout for people knocking on doors and generally hanging around. They may well be checking whether there’s anyone in, before carrying out a burglary. Both Brockley, SE4 and New Cross, SE14 have been heavily targeted by burglars who carry out daylight raids when the householders are at work. Downham is also known as an area where there are rich pickings. The Asian population has been targeted because whenever a wedding is being celebrated (sometimes to the tune of up to £40,000), there is likely to be a lot of gold and jewellery around.
So if you’re at home during the day and see something suspicious, ring the police straight away. A large proportion of criminals are caught because of calls from the public – whose watchfulness often throws up leads even if there are no immediate arrests – so you could find yourself playing a part in crime reduction in this way.
There are 500 officers in Lewisham, but they have 5000 streets to patrol. The police can’t be everywhere; they focus on the hotspot areas, but rely on us to fill the intelligence gap, keeping an eye on areas without CCTV, for example. The crime rate is average for the London boroughs, but the number of burglaries and thefts in July 2013 alone was 566. This is slightly higher than in previous months.
If you keep valuable items in your home, the Lewisham police force advises residents to take pictures of their possessions and to think about buying a small safe. It’s a good investment when you consider the time it would take to sort out the insurance and replacement of your items. Then there’s the heartache of losing possessions that are dear to you and are perhaps irreplaceable. Your local locksmith will be able to advise you on the best size and type of safe for your needs.
Whatever you decide to do to make your home safer, do it NOW – don’t close the stable door after the horse has bolted!