Coming to a home near you: police to offer advice to ‘complacent’ residents

A POLICE initiative aimed at tackling the complacency of Uttlesford residents has been launched following a spate of opportunist thefts.

Officers will be patrolling the district’s streets to check motorists have locked their cars and not left any valuables on display in an attempt to raise awareness and crack down on crime.

They will also make sure garages, sheds and the doors and windows of properties are secure and that cycles left outside are locked and out of sight.

If police find residents have left vehicles or properties vulnerable, officers will knock on their door and offer advice about the importance of security.

Pc Tom Bastendorff, neighbourhood specialist officer for Stansted Mountfitchet, said that during a 90-minute morning patrol he and PCSO Simon Horne had found 11 vehicles with items on display and five of them that were insecure.

“Our message to residents is not to get complacent,” Pc Bastendorff said. “We live in an area with relatively low crime but it is important not to leave yourself vulnerable.

“Do not give criminals an easy ride by leaving items like sat-navs, CD players or small change on display. Also make sure you double-check your vehicle is locked and that pedal cycles are secure.”

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Officers will be out patrolling villages in the evenings, generally from Thursday to Saturday, and could call at properties late at night.

Although Pc Bastendorff acknowledged this may inconvenience residents, he stressed it was important to get across the message of crime prevention.

“The feedback we have had so far has been very positive and many have thanked us for making them aware of the issue.

“We would rather inconvenience people a little in the evening than have them report that something has been stolen the following morning.”

Sgt Martin Richards, who is based at Saffron Walden police station, reiterated the need for residents to be mindful of where they leave their bikes, after reports of a number of thefts across the district in the past few weeks.

“It is important that residents do not leave their bikes where criminals can see them and that they are kept locked at all times.

“It seems the people taking them have the ability and the correct tools to move them quickly,” Sgt Richards added.