750 Sheffield houses easy targets for raiders in one month

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HUNDREDS of homes in Sheffield are being left insecure every night - making life ‘too easy’ for burglars prowling the city’s streets, police have revealed.

Special patrols carried out across the city have found a total of 755 homes this month alone with doors and windows left open or valuable property on display.

Officers said the houses represent ‘easy targets’ for offenders out to steal.

Police chiefs ordered the extra patrols to establish the extent of Sheffield’s home security problem, and to help identify which areas need more officers on the streets so offenders can be caught in the act.

Officers have called at every one of the 755 insecure homes identified, to alert residents to their security lapses. Many shocked householders have been woken in the middle of the night to be told to lock up to avoid a break-in.

Detective Chief Inspector Zaf Ali, who oversees the way robberies and burglaries are tackled in Sheffield, told The Star: “People in Sheffield are making life far too easy for burglars - criminals are not having to work hard or think too hard about stealing property because so many homes are left insecure.

“All of these homes are crimes waiting to happen - an insecure door or window, or a home with property on display and in easy reach, is an easy target. “These patrols might be difficult to sustain in the current climate because they are taking police officers away from other tasks, but we feel they are important if we are to drive down burglaries and make life more difficult for offenders,” he said.

“I am appealing to residents to help us to help them, by really thinking about their home security.

“A lot of the homes we are identifying on a daily basis are multi-occupancy student residences - but not exclusively. Everyone needs to take this issue seriously because there are criminals out there walking the streets looking for an open door or window.”

He said officers are spending ‘hours and hours’ every day patrolling the streets looking for homes at risk of being broken into by opportunist thieves.

But he said unlocked cars are also an easy target.

“It should be really hard to commit crime, but people failing to lock up their homes and cars are making it too easy,” he said.

“People also need to be aware that insurance companies expect home owners to take reasonable care - and they may not pay out if they find that homes have been left insecure.”

Two 21-year-old men are to be sentenced at court soon after confessing to 90 break-ins between them in the suburbs of Hillsborough, Walkley and Oughtibridge. They were driven around the city by police officers, pointing out to detectives which homes they had burgled.

Figures for household burglaries released yesterday reveal 2,858 burglaries have been committed across South Yorkshire since the beginning of April - six fewer than during the same period last year.