CCTV boss calls on Derbyshire homeowners to act over fears burglaries will return to pre-pandemic levels amid staycations and return to work
A Derbyshire CCTV expert has warned homeowners to act over fears burglaries will return to pre-pandemic levels amid summer staycations and a return to work as lockdown rules ease.
The boss, who runs Derbyshire based iHomeCCTV said eight out of ten homeowners were concerned about leaving their homes when they return to work or take a break after ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19.
It comes as figures released in April 2021 revealed that lockdown changes did impact crime levels with burglaries in Derbyshire increasing by 41% in July 2020 when pubs reopened – when compared to May.
Chase Dobbie, who runs the Castle-Donington located CCTV firm, fears there could be a crime spike as many houses are left empty and burglars potentially spot opportunities to strike now almost all Covid-19 measures have eased.
He said his own research among homeowners across the East Midlands revealed that many of them are worried their homes may be vulnerable after months of lockdown, with families also going away for holidays.
Chase confirmed his business has seen a surge in enquiries from homeowners in Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
“Eight out of ten people I speak to and who enquire about security are worried about burglaries, especially after the lifting of restrictions”, he added.
“These people are going back to their workplaces and taking much-needed breaks in the UK and abroad.
“They leave their homes empty and are keen to make sure their homes are secure.”
The CCTV expert shared how the nature of thefts changed during the pandemic due to the impact of job losses.
Chase said: “During Covid-19, criminals were clever and stole dogs and catalytic converters off cars.
“Now, with an end to the restrictions, they are ready to pounce on our homes once more.
“The unemployment caused by the pandemic, and workers coming off furlough with an insecure future, means many people are falling on hard times.
"This situation sadly tempts people into burglary.”
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa last year secured an additional £514,561 from the government to provide extra resources to tackle crimes such as burglary and car theft.
But the county still has one of the highest rates in the country.
The iHomeCCTV boss has issued advice to homeowners to help safeguard their properties against intruders.
He said: “Lock your doors, windows and gates and avoid hiding a spare key under a pot or a rock at your front door. It’s the security equivalent of inviting a burglar into your house.
“If you’ve been the victim of burglary already, you’re 12 times more likely to be a repeat victim, so you need to take urgent action to make your home less attractive. Close curtains, hide valuables and avoid letting your mail build up.
“A modern multi-camera CCTV system will record footage of any disturbances, as well as sending you live mobile phone alerts of any intruder who reaches the boundaries of your property.
"When a burglar sees such a clear and visible deterrent, they will generally move on to the next house.”
Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths, president of the Police Superintendents' Association, last year predicted that police should be ready to deal with a "more volatile and agitated society" after lockdown measures are eased, warning economic difficulties can lead to a “rise in crime and disorder”.