POLICE have moved into a South Tyneside housing estate to educate residents on how to keep their homes safe.
An open house initiative will be running today on the new Gleeson housing estate Reginald Gardens, in Charles Street, Boldon Colliery.
Sergeant Jon Commons, of the Boldon neighbourhood policing team, and fellow officers, will be on hand to speak to visitors about how they can prevent themselves from becoming a target for an opportunist thief.
Sgt Commons said: “The aim of the open house is for people to be able to come into a realistic home environment and see just how vulnerable their own property and possessions can be.
“They are able to look about and see how easy it can be for an opportunist thief to strike.
“We’re hoping that as word spreads, more people will pop in and they’ll be able to talk to officers and find out how they can protect themselves.”
Items, including mobiles and computers, were left around the show house, for people to see how easily it can be for a thief to steal them.
Officers were also on hand to recommend safety tips, including timers to enable lamps and radios to switch on at an evening, to give the illusion that people are at home.
The activity is part of Northumbria Police’s Operation Soundwave, which is aimed at “turning up the volume” on crime and silencing opportunist thieves across the force.
Sgt Commons said: “It can be just a case of popping outside to hang out the washing and not immediately locking the door behind you when you come in, that gives a thief an opportunity
“Or perhaps leaving a laptop on the window ledge as you get up to make a cup of tea. It will take less than five minutes for an opportunist thief to strike.
“Often people don’t even realise they’ve been robbed until much later on.
“There will be no noise, as there’s no need to break in.
“Thieves simply open the door or window and help themselves.
“Doors and windows have locks on for a reason. They need to be used.”
More crime prevention advice can be found at www.northumbria.police.uk/crimeprevention