Police across Thurrock are urging residents to secure their car keys after over twelve people have had their cars stolen in burglaries.
Since October 19, 12 burglaries where cars have been stolen were reported across the Thurrock district. Six of the twelve offences were reported in South Ockendon, three offences in the Grays area and three offences in the Tilbury and Corringham area.
Modern car security is so advanced that thieves often resort to breaking into your home with the sole purpose of getting the car keys to steal the car from the drive, and take anything easily sellable such as jewellery and electrical goods on their way out.
In some cases, burglars have put implements through the letter box to get the keys that people naturally throw down on side tables or window sills near front doors. They either use these keys to gain entry to the house or if they are car keys, use them to steal the car straight away.
In one of the most recent burglaries in South Ockendon, which is currently the area experiencing the highest amount of car key burglaries, suspects gained entry to a property in Usk Road on Sunday, November 7, through the letterbox and took an Ipod, a mobile and the keys to a VW Golf car, before stealing the car itself.
In another burglary in a road near Birch Close, South Ockendon, between Sunday, October 31 and Monday, November 1, suspects gained entry and took the keys to a Nissan Navara that were left on a side table before stealing the vehicle, worth an estimated £4,000.
In a large number of recent burglaries, doors were not properly secured, making it easy for thieves to force the door. Ds Tony Kantaris from Thurrock CID, said: “When we visit a crime scene, we commonly see that burglars have forced entry to a house because the uPVC door wasn’t locked with a key. If you pull the handle up and lock it with a key, you will have a very secure door that most burglars would find too hard to force.”
Keys should be removed from all doors and put in a safe place, where all they family know in case of a fire. All windows should be fully shut and locked. Keys and valuable items should be hidden out of view to stop a thief seeing your property as easy pickings.
“Imagine the upset when you get up in the morning to find that someone has been in, taken your valuables and used the car keys to steal your car and sometimes have left your front door open,” continued Ds Kantaris.
“There is all the aggravation that follows; calling police; assessing exactly what has been taken; contacting insurers; advising the bank and any finance company, etc. You’ll probably also have to wait days or months to get a replacement vehicle.”
Police are also advising residents to leave their lights on a timer switch, so it appears someone is home as dark falls. Security marking property with a UV pen, and displaying stickers saying all property is security marked, is also a great way to make property unattractive to a burglar, as they won’t be able to sell it on for profit if it is marked.
Police have instigated several operations across the whole area to combat burglaries and additional police resources from outside the Basildon and Thurrock area are being utilised.
Police are now asking the public to help them by heeding their advice. Ds Kantaris added: “We’re doing our bit to take these criminals off the streets and put them behind bars. We now need people to play their role in crime reduction by turning the key and pushing the door in the face of burglars.”
If you have any information about burglaries in your area, please call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For further crime prevention advice, please contact your local crime reduction officer Alan Twine (Thurrock district) or Michael Armstrong (Basildon district) on 0300 333 4444.