HOMEOWNERS hold the key to fighting crime.
That is the message to Hartlepool residents on 10,000 key-shaped leaflets that will be handed out around the town in the coming days at events and to homes in burglary hotspots.
The initiative has been organised by Hartlepool Crime Prevention Panel to cut down the number of walk-in burglaries where opportunist thieves chance their arm and check doors and windows to see if they are locked.
The leaflet urges people to secure their homes at all times and keep keys out of sight of passers-by.
It was designed by students on a Prince’s Trust programme at Stockton Riverside College, funded by security business AC Lock & Safe Co, based in Park Road, and sponsored by Weatherproof Windows & Conservatories, in Lancaster Road.
It is being backed by Cleveland Police and the Hartlepool Mail.
Detective Chief Inspector Jon Green, of Hartlepool Police, said: “Many burglaries are committed as the result of thieves gaining access to properties through insecure doors or windows. In many cases, if not all, these crimes could so very easily have been prevented by closing windows, or locking doors.
“Often back doors and windows are left open during the summer months due to the warm weather, but I would ask that householders don’t make it easy for thieves and make sure they are locked.
“Not all burglaries occur overnight and many happen on evenings, when houses are occupied – it only takes a few seconds for an opportunist thief to walk into an open door into a house and steal a handbag, car keys, mobile telephones or other valuable property”
Colin Hopkins, crime prevention advisor for Hartlepool New Deal for Communities and Crime Prevention Panel member, had visited the college with PC Steve Cranston to talk about how to reduce burglaries and how students could help.
He said: “This idea came up and the design they produced is excellent. We wanted something different to get the message across and that’s what they have done.
“We are also very thankful for the support we have received from AC Lock & Safe Co.”