On The Beat: Cross-border criminals targeting Harrogate area

Cross-border criminals travel from West Yorkshire to target properties and vehicles in the Harrogate area.

Cross-border criminals travel from West Yorkshire to target properties and vehicles in the Harrogate area.

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Hello folks, I’m Superintendent Paula Booth and I’m delighted to have this opportunity to highlight some of the work that we do to keep you – the very people we are proud to serve – safe and secure.

Our dedicated teams of officer, PCSOs, Special Constables, volunteers and police staff, backed-up by the Force Control Room, work around the clock to target and disrupt criminals who operate in the area.

Superintendent Paula Booth.

Superintendent Paula Booth.

As widely reported, Harrogate in particular has previously been a target for cross-border criminals who travel in from places such as West Yorkshire to target vehicles and property – sometimes at the same time in the case of “two-in-one burglaries” when a house is broken into to specifically steal the keys for the car parked outside on the drive.

Thankfully, due to the proactive policing approach of North Yorkshire Police, with our Roads Policing Group, Road Crime Team and the new Rural Task Force working with the local Watch scheme volunteers to clamp down on such activity, I’m pleased to report that we are keeping a tight grip on crime in Harrogate and public confidence in the service we provide remains high.

As ever, we cannot allow any hint of complacency to creep in.

We know that as soon as we lift our collective foot off the accelerator, the hardened and opportunistic criminals will take full advantage.

As a commander, as North Yorkshire Police, and as a community, we are determined to ratchet up the pressure on the nasty minority who will take any chance to cause misery for the vast majority of decent people who live in the district and the wider North Yorkshire area.

From all my years in policing and the experience I’ve gained in investigating and preventing crime, I can categorically say that the very best security advice for residents is by taking the most simple of measures to put off prying eyes.

It seems obvious, but you would not believe how many incidents of burglary and vehicle crimes we are called to investigate which could have been prevented by removing temptations such as smart phones, wallets and jewellery out of harm’s way. This goes for vehicles and in houses.

If there’s one thing you take from reading this column, please let it be the advice to remove valuables from view, lock your doors and make sure your windows are closed and secure.

And if you can supplement this by fitting burglar alarms, security lighting in gardens, house light timers for when you are away on holiday, steering wheel locks and tracking devices for your vehicles, then you are vastly reducing your chances of becoming a victim of crime.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to highlighting the work of your local police service in up-coming columns.

For more information and top crime prevention tips to keep your property safe and secure, please go to the North Yorkshire Police website www.northyorkshire.police.uk/staying-safe.