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9 December 2014, 07:19 | Updated: 9 December 2014, 07:21
Hampshire Police are increasing patrols in the Test Valley area after more than 100 burglaries and thefts in just a month.
Operation Wolf has been created in response to a significant rise in reports of theft in the district in recent weeks, specifically near the borders. During the 28-day period, 24 October to 20 November, there were 108 incidents in the Test Valley North and South reported to police. They include:
- 52 burglaries from outbuildings like sheds and garages.
- 34 thefts from motor vehicles, many of these were targeting tools.
- 12 burglaries from homes.
- 10 thefts of motor vehicles.
Operations are taking place across the area to tackle the thieves in these winter months and neighbourhood officers are delivering crime prevention messages to residents to help them keep their property and vehicles secure.
As part of Operation Wolf, the Safer Neighbourhoods Team will:
- Increase patrols in the area.
- Investigate trends to identify hotspot areas.
- Work with youth clubs and colleges to engage with teenagers in the local area.
- Provide crime prevention leaflets to residents in the local area.
- Work with local retailers to identify stolen items.
- Reinforce use of stop and search powers in the area.
- Highlight measures like CCTV, etc, in hotspot areas.
Sergeant Russell Hodges said:
“Operation Wolf will provide reassurance to residents across the Test Valley district that we have a plan to combat rural acquisitive crime.
“We do not believe that all the incidents are linked and that they are likely to have been carried out by a small number of individuals all working separately. We are working hard to prevent and disrupt further crimes through pro-active patrols, the use of intelligence and extra targeted patrols.
“Being the victim of a burglary is extremely distressing and while we’ve worked hard to get offenders off the streets we can’t be complacent. These people bring misery to their own communities and by working together we can continue to make sure our communities are safe places to live. But the public are eyes and ears and information from them can make all the difference.
“Education and providing crime prevention advice is key to tackling this problem quickly, and by increasing patrols in the area I’m confident that this operation will be successful.”
Police are reminding residents to report suspicious activity to police as a crackdown on rural crime across the district. Any suspicious vehicles in neighbourhoods or activity in people’s gardens or property during the day or night should be reported straight away.
The Safer Neighbourhoods team also has the following advice for residents:
- Secure more expensive items (e.g. mowers, bikes) to an anchor point within your shed or garage.
- Mark all items with postcode and record serial numbers. e.g. UV pens or forensic marking kits. Register the details for free on www.immobilise.com
- Ensure garden fences are in good repair between neighbours to prevent unlawful access.
- When leaving your car, close all windows and lock your vehicle.
- Don't leave anything on display in your car.
- Remove sat nav holders and visible sat nav ring marks from windscreens
It's also vital residents report anything suspicious to police straight away so they can investigate. Police can be called on 101, or to report a crime ongoing dial 999.