Police in Sunderland are cracking down on thieves and burglars across the north of the city.
During the run up to Christmas extra plain clothes patrols are taking place overnight and officers are visiting known thieves and burglars to warn them of the operation and prevent offences from taking place.
And additional uniform patrols are taking place in retail areas such as Roker retail park, Hylton Riverside retail park, Sea Road and Southwick Green to stop shop thieves in their tracks.
Officers on patrol are speaking with shoppers and residents to reassure them about the festive crackdown and pass on crime prevention advice.
The activity is part of Northumbria Police’s Operation Soundwave, aimed at tackling thieves and burglars across the force and promoting crime prevention advice for residents. The operation is supported by Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner.
Neighbourhood Inspector Tony Carty said: “The run up to Christmas historically sees an increase in shoplifting – shopping areas are crowded and thieves see this as an opportunity to steal unseen from shops or pickpocket from people doing their shopping.
“And thieves are looking for opportunities to steal – they will walk down a street seeking out unlocked homes and cars – so it’s vital people take time to secure their homes, cars and personal property.
“While operations are taking place across the area to speak to known thieves and to prevent offences from taking place, it’s important people secure their property.
“Make sure homes and vehicles are locked, that nothing of value – such as mobile phones or car keys – are left within reach of doors or windows and keep newly-bought Christmas presents stored away in the run up to Christmas Day.
“While out and about keep purses, wallets and mobile phones close to you at all times.
“It only takes a few minutes for a thief to steal something sentimental or valuable that could cause anger, frustration or financial loss that is something people don’t need, particularly at this time of year.”
Commissioner Vera Baird said: “I’ve made reducing crime a priority of my police and crime plan and hope communities will take the opportunity of talking to their local officers to find out information about the work they are carrying out to keep their neighbourhoods safe.
“Together I know we can have an impact on crime and increase confidence within the Northumbria region so we can all enjoy the festive season.”
– Ensure windows and doors are always securely locked – even when you’re at home.
– Remove all valuables and keys from within easy reach of doors or windows where they can be easily taken
– Consider installing out doors security lighting, CCTV or an alarm
– Use timer lights to come on in the evening or if going out or away
– Don’t leave anything on display in your vehicle and always make sure it’s locked – even if only leaving it for a short time
– Take care of your personal property – don’t leave belongings like mobile phones, bikes, handbags and wallets unattended.
For more crime prevention information visit http://www.northumbria.police.uk/crimeprevention, while people are urged to sign up to free property register Immobilise at www.immobilise.com.
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.