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1 June 2012, 15:10
A prolific burglar who targeted gold jewellery has spoken openly about his offending in a police video so it can be shared with potential victims of crime to help them better protect their homes and property.
The 24-year-old man from Hertfordshire has admitted over 175 offences which he committed in North London, Hertfordshire (Watford, Cheshunt, Waltham Cross, Borehamwood, Potters Bar, Hitchin and St Albans) and Bedfordshire between 2007 and 2011. The majority of these were in the homes of Asian families for their gold jewellery.
In the anonymous video he speaks about his reasons for offending, stating he targeted the specific houses due to the large amounts of gold which could be stolen combined with the current price of gold. He explains that he primarily looked for insecure homes that need little effort to break into, properties where it appears no-one was at home and homes where he could tell that Asian people lived. The meant it was easy for him to break in without being caught and there was a high likelihood of finding high quality gold jewellery.
The video will be shown to members of the Asian community in Watford during a series of pilot crime prevention events before being rolled out to the rest of the county. The events will be taking place in mosques, temples and community centres and people will be able to view a longer version of the film, get specialist crime prevention advice and security devices from a Crime Prevention Officer, and be given an overview from the Local Crime Unit about burglary in the area.
Detective Inspector Clare Smith stated: “This man has admitted to committing a significant number of crimes and, if he’d not been apprehended, he would have posed a significant threat to the public of Hertfordshire and elsewhere.
“We know that this community has been particularly vulnerable to burglary in recent months whilst the price of gold has increased, and we’ve been working hard to tackle this crime and bring offenders to justice. This information provided to police by this offender will further boost our work and will also allow people to hear first-hand what they can do to help themselves.”
Clare added: “Whilst he predominantly targeted the Asian community, he raises some important points for everyone about how to prevent burglary. Such as ensuring you leave a light on inside the property, or use a timer switch to come on when it gets dark. And for anyone keeping large amounts of jewellery at home, either use a safety deposit box or ensure you buy a good quality safe which complies with official insurance rating standards and secure it to a wall or the floor.”
A recent victim of burglary in Hatfield, where £40,000 of jewellery was stolen, said: “The jewellery was very precious to me and despite the significant monetary value, it is the sentimental trauma that hurts the most. Each piece was individual in nature and handed down from generations so had great sentimental value and if not found, is irreplaceable.
“Although items have been stolen, the repercussions of feeling unsafe in your own home and knowing that someone has been through all of your house is very eerie and uncomfortable; not only for adults but for children as well.
“As advice to others, the burglary happened during the day while we were out at the office, so I would recommend you ensure safety measures such as an alarm and CCTV as a minimum. It is better to be safe than to be sorry. Unfortunately you only pay real attention to such issues when the absence of it costs you dearly.”
• Multi-racial Community Centre, Durban Road – 7pm on Tuesday 29th May
• North Watford Mosque, North Western Avenue – 2.30pm on Friday 15th June
• North Watford Mosque, North Western Avenue – 2.30pm on Saturday 16th June (Ladies only)
• Sri Guru Singh Sabah Gurdwara, Kings Close – 3pm on Sunday 1st July
You can deter a burglar from entering your home by:
• Make sure you double-lock any UPVC doors by lifting the handle and locking it at all times.
• Check all doors are locked and all windows, including those upstairs, are secure before you go out.
• Use timer switches on lamps to give the impression somebody is at home or keep a light on in the evening when you leave.
• Consider installing alarms and ‘dusk to dawn’ security lighting.
• Consider installing a CCTV camera outside your property.
You can also keep your valuables secure by:
• Keep all jewellery and other valuables in a safety deposit box – speak to your local bank to find out what’s available.
• If you’d prefer to store your gold at home, keep it in a good quality safe which complies with official insurance rating standards and is secured to a wall or to the floor.
• To ensure your safe is the best possible standard, visit www.securedbydesign.com a Home Office approved website which list approved security products which have been awarded the 'Police Preferred Specification' status, or www.soldsecure.com which lists products approved by the Master Locksmiths Association
You can register your property on the free secure online database www.immobilise.com - that way, if police recover your property, they’ll be able to return it to you.