IT MAY be the season of goodwill but opportunist thieves across Adur and Worthing could make Christmas for many far from cheery.
Police are expecting a rise in vehicle crime, burglaries and shoplifting over the festive season but advise a few simple steps will minimise the chances of falling victim.
Adur and Worthing Acting Chief Inspector Will Rolls is coordinating a series of operations in the coming weeks to counteract the threat.
He said: “Criminals learn repeat behaviour. In the natural world sharks return to the same feeding grounds year after year when seal pups are born because they know food is there.
“In the same way criminals will return to areas where they know there are going to be opportunities for them to commit crime, where there are easy pickings and that is why we need to make this change and break this cycle and it starts with the community doing their bit.”
Police have seen a drop in vehicle crime in the past 12 months but the winter months often see a spike.
And even the classic Christmas tree on show, with presents underneath, could be enough to catch a thief’s eye.
Ch Insp Rolls said: “We scrutinise crime on a daily basis and with vehicle crime, we can say that if you remove valuables and wipe off the little mark on your window left by your sat nav and lock your car overnight, the chances of falling victim to an offence of vehicle crime are very small indeed. It is opportunistic offending.
“How many people are also talking on social media about gifts or holidays they are going on, to advertise their house is full of expensive items and empty? We just ask people to think about taking basic precautions to help us prevent crime.”
Ch Insp Rolls has taken over from District Commander Jo Banks, who has been seconded to work on a £55 million cost savings project until January.
In an interview with the Herald on Thursday, he reassured the public there would be no change in policing during his tenure.
On the subject of cuts, he added: “I think in some ways it is exciting to have the opportunity to look at everything we do to consider how we can doing things differently and more effectively.
“Whatever the changes look like, if you need us, if you call us, we will be there and that won’t change.”
Ch Insp Rolls, who started his career in Northumbria in 1999, later becoming an Inspector in Chichester before his temporary move to the area, praised his ‘fantastic’ team for its strong performance in policing.