Burglary crimewave across St Albans

Burglar bloke

Burglar bloke - Credit: Getty Images

A steep rise in burglaries across the St Albans district has prompted police to urge residents to be on their guard.

Since the beginning of October 65 homes have been targeted by burglars compared with 49 during the same period last year - an increase of 25 per cent.

The largest number have happened in St Stephen and Park Street wards with nine each, Batchwood ward with eight and St Peter’s and Verulam with five.

Only one of the district council wards has escaped the attention of burglars and that is Clarence.

In most of the break-ins, burglars have gained access through gates to back gardens at the side of homes that have been left unlocked and through UPVC rear or side doors and windows that have not been double locked.

Det Insp Peter Frost from the St Albans Local Crime Unit, said: “As the nights start to draw in, we do tend to see an increase in burglary offences. However, this is out of the ordinary and we are directing heavy police resources to deal with the situation.

“We are following lines of enquiries that indicate some of the burglaries are linked and that offenders are travelling into the area to commit offences. To tackle the rise in burglaries we are increasing our high visibility patrols across the St Albans City and District and this will also include covert operations.

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“In addition we continue to use ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) to track and put a stop to criminals crossing our borders to commit crime.”

St Albans Chief Inspector Ken Townsend said: “We are doing all we can to come down hard on those committing these offences and put a stop to them.

He stressed how important it was that householders ensured their homes were properly secure and they were taking simple precautions such as securing gates and fully locking doors.

He added: “I would also ask members of the public to be vigilant; if you see someone acting suspiciously in the area or notice an unfamiliar car in your street that seems out of the ordinary, please contact us on the non-emergency number 101 or 999 if you believe you witness a crime taking place.”

Residents are also being urged to sign up to Neighbourhood Watch so they receive regular information on the OWL messaging system which updates crimes happening in local areas. Police officers will be on St Albans market on Wednesdays and Saturdays until Christmas to enrol people and offer crime prevention advice.