The Wokingham Paper

'Move your key safe' call after thieves steal cars, jewellery and cash in raids

Police

A CALL has been issued for residents to move wall-mounted key safes from outside homes, following a spate of burglaries over the past few months. 

Thames Valley Police says that homes in Sandhurst, Crowthorne and Easthampstead have been targeted by thieves who use the key safes to get into properties, stealing car keys, cars, jewellery, money and bank cards. 

Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Terry Dixon, of Loddon Valley police station, said: “We are urging anyone living in the targeted areas to check their CCTV or dash-camera footage and get in touch with us if they have recordings of suspicious behaviour or of the potential offenders.

Our officers are patrolling the affected areas and providing support and advice to the local community. 

“Please speak with them about any concerns you may have or if you have information that can support these ongoing investigations.

“If you have information which could help, you can also contact the non-emergency number 101 or make a report online, quoting reference number 4320003242.   

“If you would like to remain anonymous you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Advice from Thames Valley Police

In order to protect your property, and to reduce the risk of becoming victim to burglary we advise you to:

  • Move your key safe in a location that is not easily visible from the road.
  • Consider using a further security measure of a bolt or chain to further secure your key safe to the wall.
  • Be vigilant for neighbours who have key safes.
  • Consider leaving your key with a neighbour.
  • Remove your key safe if you do not need it or use it regularly.

Thames Valley Police said that being burgled is a traumatic experience. It’s not just the financial cost of replacing stolen items, but also the emotional impact of feeling violated after a burglar has been in your home.

You can reduce the risk of becoming a victim by looking at your home security through the eyes of a burglar. Think about how you would break in if you locked yourself out. You may be surprised at how easy it would be.

To get started, download its Home Security Guide which contains a range of physical and digital security measures to protect your home. 

There is also advice on how to avoid invalidating your home insurance through poor security and a handy checklist when going away.

You can find more crime prevention advice on Thames Valley Police’s Residential Burglary pages.

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Reece Thompson

The amount of times we have seen key safes installed within immediate visibility is staggering. We often tell our customers to hide the key safe where it isn’t visible for passersby and on the whole, our customers take this warning.

Sometimes though, it can be a bit hard if the property is a street-facing one i.e. there is no front yard. In this instance, yes, we’d agree that it might be safer to leave the set of keys with a trusted neighbour or family.

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