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Hampshire Constabulary is supporting a burglary awareness campaign which will run until December.
The campaign features three themed weeks - distraction burglaries, domestic burglaries, and the focus of this week, asian gold burglaries.
Asian traditions have always placed a strong emphasis on jewellery and investing in gold is a time-honoured practice.
Gold jewellery is often purchased to celebrate special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and cultural events like Diwali and Eid.
Between the January 1 and May 31, 2011, £2.9 million worth of gold was stolen through distraction burglaries. On average, nationally, £8,577 worth of gold was stolen per offence in comparison with £2,451 cash stolen.
As people are getting ready to celebrate Diwali this week, Hampshire police are engaging with Asian communities to ensure individuals are doing what they can to protect their valuables.
ACPO lead on gold theft Assistant Chief Constable Paul Broadbent said:
"The police service is concerned that the rising price of gold may push up the number of burglaries targeting jewellery. Asian families are more likely to give or receive gold jewellery as gifts over Diwali, which are then kept in the house increasing their vulnerability to burglary.
"My priority as ACPO lead on gold theft is to work with police forces across the country to make it harder for thieves to sell gold jewellery. Reducing the market for stolen gold reduces the incentives for criminals and subsequently the number of families whose prized possessions are taken from them."
Hampshire Constabulary's Detective Chief Inspector Darren O'Callaghan said:
"The theft of asian gold isn't a significant issue in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight but in areas where we do have Asian communities our officers are engaging with residents to ensure their valuables are being properly protected ensuring that they are not giving opportunist burglars reason to target them."
These simple steps will help residents of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to protect their valuable jewellery.
- Keep the jewellery in a safe place and locked up if possible. Consider installing a safe at home which is securely fixed to the floor or wall. See www.securedbydesign.com for police approved safes.
- Ensure that the jewellery is insured.
- Consider storing high valuable items elsewhere such as in a bank deposit box; contact your bank for details.
- Make a list of all jewellery stored in your house with a description of each item.
- Photograph all pieces of jewellery against a plan background with the ruler next to them to give an idea of size.
- Consider registering your jewellery with a registration company.
- Make sure your home is kept secure at all times: keep windows and doors locked, switch lights on when going out to make your home look occupied, use burglary alarms and install security lights on the outside of your property.
- If you are buying jewellery as gift, don't leave it or its packaging on display. Follow as much of the above advice as possible to keep it safe.