Police claim vacant homes a target for criminals

Rebecca ParishNorth West Telegraph
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People, businesses and industry are again being warned to lock up their premises with vacant homes the latest target of would-be criminals, according to Hedland police.

More than 500 were reported in the Pilbara from July 15 to the end of January, with 60 vacant homes broken into within the six-month period.

And it's an issue that's giving police a headache.

"I want industry and real estate agentswho have excess amounts of vacant homes, to conduct security checks on them," Sgt Gentili said.

"And likewise, if there's a vacant home next to you and something is not right, give us a call.

"Basically (people) have got to start to look after their property because it's just causing us so much grief at the moment."

Of the 522 burglary offences, 310 were as a result of forced entry but alarmingly 183 burglaries were committed on unlocked homes.

Jan Ford managing director Jim Henneberry said in the first week of February the agency had two vacant homes broken into.

Mr Henneberry said both incidents needed to be reported to police so an incident number could be issued in case of an insurance claim and he added he expected children were causing a lot of the damage with school holidays being a prime time for incidents.

"It's extra work for all involved," he said.

"They are ransacking the homes looking for cash or small items of value."

"We have stopped advertising homes as "vacant" or "available now", just in case that is how they are being sourced."

Sgt Gentili said he didn't want people to become relaxed and for crime to get "out of hand" in town.

The message from Hedland police comes as the WA Police Commissioner last week announced a roll-out of changes starting this week to the Frontline 2020 model.

The changes will have metropolitan police respond urgently to four types of crime, including family violence, burglaries, stolen vehicles and theft.

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