Burglary Upsurge Alarming

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(PLTM) - Police Information Office Press Release - June 9, 2024 - The RVIPF wishes to alert the public that there continue to be elevated numbers of commercial and residential burglaries in certain areas on Tortola. During these burglaries, the perpetrators often steal cash, electronics, gaming devices, power tools, weed whackers, and any other item from which they can derive a commercial gain.

The public is also being asked to be on the lookout for persons offering such items for sale, particularly if the prices are below market value. The RVIPF encourages persons to report such occurrences to the police if there is suspicion that the items were stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.

In addition to investigative efforts, the RVIPF has undertaken targeted patrols in the areas where the burglaries are seemingly concentrated, and this tactic has already begun to yield some results. Several arrests have been made, and some defendants have been charged and placed before the courts.

Head of the Criminal Investigation Department, Detective Chief Inspector Kenrick Davis indicates that some of the burglary incidents have drawn attention to some concerning trends.

“For many years, it had been common practice for persons to park rented cars with the keys left inside them. This practice occurs mainly near our seaports, such as Trellis Bay, Road Town Jetty, West End Jetty, and St. Thomas Bay on Virgin Gorda. There is an emerging trend where criminals access these vehicles, use them to commit crimes, and then return them to these parking lots. Quite often, legitimate users or owners are oblivious to the use of their vehicles in the commission of crimes,” he explained.

DCI Davis also indicates an upsurge in the theft of licence plates on Tortola. Some of these plates are used in the commission of crimes to thwart police investigations. There have been a few instances where criminals have used mismatched licence plates on get-away vehicles.

DCI Davis advises that these emerging trends signal the need for residents to adjust their routines and practices to reduce the chance of becoming victims. For instance, residents and businesses should consider arrangements other than leaving keys inside their vehicles.

The following crime prevention measures are recommended to help curb criminal incidents:

1. Install CCTV cameras in and around your premises to monitor activities and deter potential burglars. 2. Utilize alarm systems and ensure that the exterior of your property is well lit. Adequate lighting can deter would-be intruders. Motion lights are also a good option. 3. Securely lock your doors and windows, especially when away from your premises. This basic measure can increase the difficulty of crimes of opportunity. 4. Regularly inspect and maintain the locking mechanisms on all windows, ensuring that they are fully operational. Any faulty locks should be promptly repaired or replaced. 5. Do not leave a spare key outside, under mats and flowerpots. A large percentage of burglaries happen without forced entry. 6. If you are repairing or building a new home, consider configuring your exterior doors so that they open outwards. Doors that open outwards present greater difficulty for burglars. 7. Photograph your valuable possessions in their respective locations within your home to safeguard them. Create a detailed inventory list for each item and record serial numbers or specific identifying marks to make it easier to identify them in case of theft. 8. Establish a neighborhood watch group that can be conveniently organised through a WhatsApp platform. In this setup, residents within a specific neighborhood can serve as vigilant observers, promptly reporting suspicious incidents to their community members and the police. The RVIPF stands ready to advise and support any community wishing to start these groups.

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