Here’s the latest in our news series of columns from Greater Manchester Police, providing a monthly update on local crime trends from Inspector Mark Coulson and his team of police officers and PCSOs at Altrincham Police Station.
We hope everyone had an enjoyable and peaceful Christmas and we would like to wish you a Happy New Year from everyone at the Trafford South team!
Whilst the festive season was a time for relaxation, our officers were targeting burglary suspects which combined the use of forensic and intelligence-led investigations. As a result of their brilliant efforts, we are pleased to confirm that over 12 suspects have been arrested and charged with burglary and other offences.
Burglary levels across Altrincham are in decline, but we did experience a spike over the festive season. Unfortunately, now Christmas is over, burglars will be looking for opportunities knowing that homes now have new laptops, TVs, computers and mobile phones.
Take some simple steps to make your home less inviting to burglars. For less than £2 you can buy a timer switch to turn lights on/off giving the impression your home is occupied, always set your home alarm even if you’re only out for a short amount of time and ensure all windows and doors are locked and secured.
A burglary suspect recently commented that “they target homes that have no lights on and look unoccupied as it’s an easy target for them to be in and out in less than five minutes!”
If you were lucky enough to receive a new bicycle, mobile phone, laptop or tablet as a Christmas gift, now is the time to register your device on the immobilise website at www.immobilise.com which is the UK’s national property register and helps us identify the owners of recovered property. For new mobile phones and tablets, we recommend you check the manufacturer’s security advice too.
With some mobile phones costing more than £600, be aware of the potential risk when using them in public or having them on display as this can be too tempting for opportunist thieves who know the value of new mobile phones.
The “purse dipping” incidents in Altrincham town centre are now in decline. Over Christmas, a police volunteer distributed information leaflets to over 53 shoppers (who had insecure handbags) in a one-hour period.
Ensure you wear your handbag either, in front of your body or under your arm. If your handbag has a flap, we recommend you wear your handbag with the flap against your body ensuring it’s more difficult to open you handbag whilst you’re shopping. In addition, please avoid leaving your handbag on the back of chairs in coffee shops, cafes etc… as it only takes a few seconds to remove your purse and valuables. When you’re out shopping the best advice is to keep a look out for fellow shoppers!
Our extra patrols over Christmas and New Years Eve experienced isolated incidents which resulted in very few arrests. The Altrincham taxi marshals ensured everyone made it home safely and also helped to diffuse any issues or arguments whilst revellers waited for a taxi. Due to the success of the taxi marshal service it will be used for key dates throughout the year.
In addition, our extra visits to licensed premises were well received and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that helped to ensure that overwhelming majority of individuals enjoyed a safe, peaceful and crime free night in Altrincham town centre.
Our “none for the road” seasonal campaign for drink/drug drivers resulted in several arrests across the whole region. One arrest in Altrincham was as a result of information from concerned members of the public and the police helicopter was used to trace the vehicle and to direct our patrols. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow the Police Helicopter at @NPAS_Barton who regularly post tweets with updates and information.
As reported last month, the £20 fake bank notes remain in circulation and we would urge everyone to double-check all bank notes including any sales that you undertake via online auction sites as these seem to be a “hot spot” for the fake bank notes. If you’re uncertain of any bank notes we recommend you refuse the transaction and let us know by calling 101 so we can track incidents.
The festive period is a very busy time for reports of domestic abuse incidents. We remain committed to providing a full suite of support to all victims of domestic violence and during this time we worked with a number of other agencies to provide help and support to the victims. To contact your local domestic abuse unit call the GMP switchboard on 101. In an emergency where there is an immediate threat to life or property always call 999.
New legislation came into effect on the 29th December which means that victims who are subjected to coercive and controlling behaviour can bring their perpetrators to justice, with incidents that stop short of serious physical violence but amount to extreme psychological and emotional abuse will now be recognised as a crime within the domestic abuse framework. This change in legislation means for the first time perpetrators who control their partners through threats or by restricting their personal or financial freedom could face prison in the same way as those who are violent towards them. More information is available at www.gmp.police.uk/domesticabuse
We just wanted to remind all dog owners within the region that a new law comes into effect on the 6th April making it compulsory for all dogs to be registered and micro chipped. Owners failing to do so could face a fine of up to £500. The new law has been welcomed by animal charities as it ensures stray or lost dogs can be reunited with their owners quickly.
We look forward to updating you next month with more information on our operations and initiatives ensuring a safe neighbourhood for everyone!