Criminal Gangs Search Property Websites and Social Media for Targets

Scotland Yard have warned that Criminal gangs are searching property websites and social media for potential targets for burglaries.

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Superintendent Sean Wilson said that people selling homes online or advertising goods on sites such as eBay or Gumtree should know that criminals are scouring the internet.

“If someone is advertising property for sale they should think about what else is on display in the background, such as an expensive picture, for instance, or jewellery,” Superintendent Sean Wilson has said, as he reminds people that they should be wary of selling homes online, or advertising goods on sites such as eBay or Gumtree, as criminals are constantly scouring the internet. Criminals themselves have admitted to doing this.

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Scotland Yard have therefore urged homeowners to take more precautions to protect their homes as the nights draw in now that the clocks have gone back and recent figures have shown the number of break-ins around London have risen by 13% in the last 12 months.

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The Met recently said it will no longer investigate low-level burglaries if it is not possible to identify a suspect. Mr Wilson, the force’s operational lead on burglary, insisted police were still investigating all burglaries – either in person or on the phone – but if there were no leads, no CCTV and no forensics then cases would be dropped. He said: “Forensic officers are sent to burglary scenes where there are forensic opportunities so it’s important for victims to take steps to preserve evidence by calling police as soon as possible and ensuring that until officers arrive, the scene is, where possible, left undisturbed – “This will improve our chances of identifying suspects.”

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He said officers were putting more effort into preventing burglaries through schemes such as the MetTrace project, for example, marking valuable items in people’s homes with an invisible liquid which can only be seen under UV light. Burglary in those areas has fallen 25 per cent since the launch. Police also support victims through “super-cocooning”, which includes extra patrols and encouraging neighbours to be vigilant.

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Mr Wilson urged homeowners to keep valuables out of sight, lock doors and windows and use timer lights to make the home appear occupied.

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