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CCTV boss urges homeowners to act over fears burglaries will return to pre-pandemic levels

Published on Tuesday 27 July 2021

A CCTV expert 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. 

Burglaries in July 2020, when pubs re-opened in England, increased by 26%, when compared to May. In Derbyshire, burglaries increased by 41% over the same period. 

Chase Dobbie, who runs iHomeCCTV, fears there could be a crime spike as many houses are left empty and burglars potentially spot opportunities to strike.
He said his own research among homeowners across the East Midlands tevealed that many of them are worried their homes may be vulnerable after months of lockdown.  
Families going away for a holiday as restrictions lift are in the same situation. 
There are concerns too that people losing their jobs, and the end of the furlough scheme, means they may resort to burglary as a way of making money.   
Chase Dobbie, who runs iHomeCCTV, said his business had seen a surge in enquiries from homeowners in Derbyshire and Leicestershire. 
He said: “Eight out of ten people I speak to and who enquire about security are worried about burglaries, especially after the lifting of restrictions. 
“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.”
Chase, who established Castle Donington-based iHomeCCTV in 2016, said the nature of thefts were changing.
He 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.”
In Derbyshire, the Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa acted last year to secure an additional £514,561 from the government to provide extra resources to tackle crimes such as burglary and car theft.  

In Leicestershire, burglaries were down in 2020 and aggravated burglaries – those involving weapons or threats – were down about 22 per cent from 249 in 2019 to 193.

Despite this, it is still one of the highest rates in the country. 

Chase has offered tips to ensure homeowners are prepared to safeguard 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.

The police chief warned that economic difficulties can lead to a “rise in crime and disorder”.

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