Police urge residents to dial 999 if they see people acting suspiciously near neighbours property
22 October 2012
Police are urging residents to call 999 if they see people they don’t recognise acting suspiciously near their neighbours’ properties. The advice is: “If it doesn’t look right or feel right, then call us straightaway.”
The police advice follows at least two burglary reports during the last week where neighbours had been vigilant and suspicious but didn’t call police.
"This is important local knowledge which can be of great benefit to local communities"
In one incident a neighbour spotted three males walking away from an address two doors away in North Cheam. Although the neighbour thought the men’s behaviour was suspicious, she didn't call police because she was going out. It was only two hours later at 21.45hrs when the householder came home that he noticed the porch sensor light had been removed and the physical damage to his front door - damage that was found to be consistent with an attempted burglary.
Two days later in Carshalton, a resident was awoken between 0200-0300hrs by a loud noise. At the same time that she looked out from a window and saw an unknown man in her neighbour’s back garden, she heard a helicopter hovering overhead. She assumed this must be the police helicopter and didn’t call police. Later, damage was discovered to the frame around the patio door, although entry hadn’t been gained.
Det Insp Jim Bennett, who runs Sutton’s Burglary Investigation Team and the borough’s Police Intelligence Unit, said people who live near each other often know each other’s movements, such as when they go out and when they are likely to return; when the property is usually occupied and when it’s empty; when properties are noisy and when they tend to be quiet. Close neighbours may tell each other when they are having improvement work carried out on their homes.
Det Insp Bennett explained: “In crime prevention terms, this is important local knowledge which can be of great benefit to local communities in keeping people safe and property secure, especially at this time of year as the nights start to draw in.
“So our message is that if you see anyone you don’t know acting suspiciously on your neighbour’s property then call us. Also if you hear a loud bang, or series of bangs from next door, when you believe the property is empty, then call us then too.
“Call police straightaway. If you can, please provide us a good description of the suspects and note their vehicle make and model, or better still, its registration number.”
“We would much prefer to come out and check that everything is OK than to have people suffer the upset and distress that is caused to victims of burglary,” added Det Insp Bennett.
For crime prevention advice contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team, or see our advice pages, the link to which is on the right.