Billy the Burglar launches crime prevention initiative

23 October 2012

The Harrogate District Community Safety Partnership has launched its winter crime prevention initiative. With crime levels continuing to remain low across the district, the focus is to maintain this and to encourage local residents to take some simple steps so that they are not a victim of crime and specifically not a victim of burglary.

Historically, opportunities for burglary increase during the winter months for a host of reasons.

A survey of convicted burglars in December 2011 found that a burglar would target certain types of properties and they were creatures of habit.

They preferred semi-detached houses rather than large detached ones, they often targeted houses that were the same design, this meant that it was easier to find their way around, the rooms were in the same place and it also meant that the TV and DVD were more than likely to be in the same place, ideal for a quick getaway.

Burglars prefer an empty property so that they have free run of the rooms without the threat of coming in contact with anyone.

Julia Stack, Community Safety & CCTV Manager, whose team has been responsible for pulling the campaign, together emphasised the need for residents to be vigilant and take some simple steps to reduce the risk of being the victim of burglary.

 Julia Stack, Community Safety & CCTV Manager said:

We are using the title “Billy the Burglar’ for our campaign which encourages people to think like a burglar, what would a burglar like and what would they dislike.

By understanding what burglars look for in their target you will be able to identify any weak spots in your home’s security.


Sarah Glew of the Community Safety Partnership, Keith Roberts the Chairman of Harrogate & District Neighbourhood Watch, PC Gaynor Parker, Mel Greaves of the Community Safety Partnership and Julia Stack, Community Safety & CCTV Manager


Billy the Burglar likes:

  • Unsecured windows and doors
  • Valuables left on display
  • Your house looking dark and unoccupied
  • Unsecured tools and equipment in your garden shed
  • Ladders left unlocked
  • A house with no security lighting
  • Shrubs and hedges to hide behind
  • Parcels left on doorsteps and post in the letterbox
  • Waste packaging ‘advertising’ what you have just bought


Billy the Burglar dislikes:

  • A house that looks occupied
  • A house with locked windows and doors
  • Valuables that are out of sight
  • A house with security lighting
  • A shed with a good quality lock
  • Ladders chained and locked
  • Secure side and rear entrances
  • Gravel paths and prickly plants
  • Being watched by your neighbours
  • Noise (a barking dog, alarm or radio)
  • Secure garage door


Julia Stack added:

Being the victim of burglary is upsetting for those involved, we want homeowners to think carefully about home security and take some personal responsibility, added Mrs Stack. “Prevention is the message we want to get across.”

The Community Safety Partnership has produced an information leaflet available from or you can email the team on and one can be sent out to you with a free UV marker pen. Alternatively keep an eye out for Billy the Burglar as he visits locations across the district in the coming weeks.




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