A NEW campaign has been launched to tackle the crime as more than 300 burglaries were reported to Wiltshire Police in eight months.

Today, December 8, marks the start of the force's month-long campaign to tackle burglary.

The crime became an operational priority at the start of the year, as outlined by chief constable Catherine Roper.

In July a burglary team was established to target prolific offenders, investigate serial offences and out-of-force offenders who travel to Wiltshire to commit crimes.

Since April, there have been 327 residential burglaries which is a 15 per cent decrease on the same period last year and October figures showed that Wiltshire Police attended 96.1 per cent of these.

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Detective Inspector Darren Ambrose, of the burglary team, said: "Burglary is one of the most impactive crimes that a member of the public can suffer. Your home is the place you should feel most safe and secure and somebody breaking in can change the life of a victim and their family forever.

"That is why burglary is a priority for the Force and why we are taking steps to improve our approach to dealing with residential burglary."

As part of the campaign, Wiltshire Police will be raising awareness of important crime prevention advice.

Protect yourself and your home: Wiltshire Police's checklist

  • Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when just in the garden. And make sure you have approved locks or bolts to all doors and windows.
  • Never leave a spare key in a hiding place like in a plant pot or letter box - a thief knows all the hiding places
  • Register all serial numbers from electrical items, tools and garden equipment with Immobilise.com the free national property register. Mark items without serial numbers with an artificial DNA property marker such as Smartwater or SelectaDNA.
  • Use a timer to set lights to mimic your usual activity when you are not at home.
  • Do not open the door to anyone you don't know or are not expecting.  Always check by using a spy-hole or look through a window. Don't trust an ID card.
  • Trim back any plants and hedges at the front of your property to no higher than one meter to remove hiding places.
  • Always report any suspicious activity, note any vehicle registrations, descriptions of persons involved and direction of travel.
  • Consider installing a monitored burglar alarm, and only use a company that is registered or certified with the NSI or the SSIAB.
  • Take photographs of all jewellery including hallmarks and keep them safe. Make sure that you have up to date contents insurance.
  • Keep all keys, purses and wallets out of sight and away from the letterbox.