TODAY marks the start of the final week of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ national burglary campaign.

The final theme focuses on reducing the number of dwelling burglaries across the country.

Wiltshire has seen a steady decline in dwelling burglaries over the last few years.

From July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, there were 1581 dwelling burglaries across the county. In the same period from 2011 to 2012, this figure fell by 17.4 per cent, which equates to 275 fewer offences.

However, Wiltshire Police are keen to further reduce this number and deprive burglars of any opportunities to commit crime over the festive period.

Therefore officers are supporting the ACPO campaign by taking part in a series of proactive activities to target known offenders and provide the public with the advice they need to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of this crime.

These activities will include increased patrols in burglary ‘hotspots’; monitoring known offenders through the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition, stop checks, regular home visits and checks on bail conditions and working with our partners to encourage the public to increase their home security, such as through visits from the Bobby Van.

However, the public also has their part to play. By following simple security advice, it can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of this crime:

• Make sure that you lock all your doors and windows whenever you leave your property, even if you are just popping out for five minutes. A burglar needs very little time to break in to your home and steal your belongings

• Don’t keep large amounts of cash at home and ensure that valuable items are positioned away from windows

• Don’t leave keys near a door or window and never hide a spare set outside

• Consider investing in a burglar alarm and installing external security lighting

• Mark the valuable property in your home and register serial numbers with a property register company such as ‘Immobilise’

• If you see or hear anything suspicious, contact police immediately.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick John, Head of Serious Crime at Wiltshire Police, said: “Burglary is a very distressing crime and we are therefore fully supportive of this national campaign.

“Although Wiltshire does not have a high number of burglaries compared to the national average, we are never complacent and will always pursue ways to further reduce the number of crimes.

“Given that Christmas is fast approaching and people are stocking up on presents, it is particularly important that the public adhere to security advice to prevent their Christmas being ruined.

“I would also like to use this opportunity to thank the public for their continued assistance. We rely on information we receive from the community and I would urge anyone who sees or hears anything suspicious to contact police immediately.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Wiltshire Police on 101. Any crimes in action should always be reported to police via 999.

Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information may be left anonymously if preferred.

Further security advice is available from Wiltshire Police’s Crime Reduction Officers by calling 101.