A SENIOR Lurgan police officer has urged people in the town to continue taking steps to combat burglaries.
Although the crime has decreased by 10% in the past year, Detective Inspector Will Tate called on people to take precautions coming up to the Christmas period.
“This is good news for the area,” said Mr Tate.
“We rearranged how we policed and investigated burglaries, and that seems to have had an effect.”
The number of burglaries fell from 264 last year to 239 this year.
However, Mr Tate warned people, especially the elderly, not to let their guard down.
He spoke of one incident in which an 89-year-old Bleary woman was robbed of her life savings in her own home.
He said: “A man, dressed in a waistcoat and wearing a flat hat, knocked at her door and presented her with a huge sum of cash.
“He then told her that he took it off a group of kids up the street. He asked her if they had stolen it from her savings.
“The lady went into her room to check, and once she revealed where her money was, the man took it and ran away.”
He continued: “That’s actually very typical of a lot of burglaries on the elderly.
“In fact, the majority of elderly victims of burglary let the criminals into their houses themselves.
“It’s obvious a considerable amount of work had gone into this and I’m certain he had been outside the lady’s house five or six times before he actually carried out the theft.”
Mr Tate urged people to use the PSNI’s Quick Check number on 0800 013 22 90 to find out if callers are genuine.
One new challenge presented to the PSNI in the area is the theft of copper.
“There is certainly a rise in these incidents and it’s an increasing concern,” said Mr Tate.
“The removal of copper has the potential to cause a lot of damage to properties and we are keen to put an end to it.
“We have a good relationship with the local metal dealers, so we will know if there is any stolen metal in their yards.
“Progress is being made in this area. We know there are a few dozen people involved in this are we are determined to stop them.
“Regular arrests are made in relation to copper theft. We have even made some arrests at the entrances of the scrap yards.”
There are straightforward steps that every householder can take to make their home secure against burglars.
Before leaving your home, go into each room and make sure all windows are tightly shut and locked.
You may want to consider buying window locks. A burglar may be less likely to enter your home if a window needs to be smashed.
Check all doors leading into your home are secure and locked and ensure your main garage door is shut.
If you are going to be away from home ask a neighbour to leave your bins out, make your house look occupied by putting lights on timer switches and inform police of the dates your property will be vacant.