RESIDENTS are being urged not to make life easier for burglars by leaving their homes unlocked.
Officers have responded to 390 home burglaries in Northumberland since April 2011 and 160 of these houses had been left insecure.
Chief Inspector Peter Reeve said: “Burglary is an issue throughout Northumberland and it’s one of our policing priorities.
“What is concerning is the amount of reports that we respond to where the burglars have simply tried their luck and managed to get into families’ homes through unlocked doors and windows.
“We need people to realise that regardless of where they live, burglars are looking for unlocked homes to get inside and steal belongings.
“They are taking bags, purses, mobile phones, cash, car keys, televisions, games consoles and anything else they can get their hands on.
“We’ve even seen examples where victims have been in the living room watching TV and sneak burglars have crept into their home through an unlocked door and stolen items from the kitchen – all while the family have been no more than a few feet away.”
Officers are carrying out day and night-time patrols in residential areas across the county.
Crime-prevention visits are being made to homes in burglary hot-spot areas and crime prevention kits are being given to residents.
Offenders who are known to police as burglars are being actively targeted by police and their movements closely monitored.
DCI Reeve added: “Our messages to homeowners is simple – protect your property.
“By simply locking doors and windows overnight, when you leave the house and even when you are inside the house, you are making life a lot more difficult for burglars.
“We are doing everything we can to put a stop to burglaries in Northumberland and without the help of the public, we won’t be able to do it.
“Lock your doors, think about crime prevention and report any report suspicious behaviour to police.”
Anyone with information into any burglaries in the county is asked to contact officers on 101, extension 69191.