Midlothian residents are being urged to safeguard their properties in order to reduce burglaries in the county as part of the new ‘Lock Down Crime’ campaign.
The Midlothian Community Safety Partnership, which includes Midlothian Council and Police Scotland, are raising awareness of crime prevention by informing local residents about the best ways to help eradicate the ongoing threat of housebreakings in the county.
Over the past six months, there have been 80 reported housebreakings to homes and 141 to garden sheds and garages in Midlothian .
The aim of ‘Lock Down Crime’ is to reduce that number and ensure residents are more vigilant.
Mechanic Derek Calder from Rosewell had his home broken into in August.
They didn’t steal anything from the house other than keys for Derek’s motorbike and van.
The van was recovered a couple of days later and the motorbike was recovered this month.
Derek revealed that his 17-year-old daughter still can’t come to terms with the “feeling of violation” the break-in caused his family.
He said: “It’s the emotional stress. My daughter still can’t forget about it. We are working to get her over that.
“There is also a financial cost – having to get new keys cut. It’s just the stress of everything.
‘‘A few days after the break-in we found that they lifted a knife from a kitchen drawer before they went though the house. I was angry I never heard them, but now I think it was just as well I didn’t.
“It’s just the stress of thinking ‘will they come back?’
“It’s not a pleasant experience. I got up in the morning and everything was alright. Then it was the case of ‘where are my keys?’
“Until it’s happened to your, you don’t know what it’s like.
‘‘You get that feeling of violation. You are meant to be safe in your own house.
“My daughter is getting better now but she still doesn’t feel 100 per cent safe.
“It’s a brand new house.
‘‘We waited a long time to get it, but she can’t settle so we might have to look for an exchange.
“I’m just taking it day by day with my daughter.
‘‘Keys, cars, vans are all replaceable. My first concern over everything is my daughter’s well-being. Although she is nearly an adult she is still my child.”
And Derek warned other homeowners to be vigilant.
He said: “My wallet was lying on the floor in the living room and they never took it. They obviously only intended on taking keys.
“They got in through a window which was open very slightly because the house was like an oven. People have to be a lot more vigilant .
‘‘Make sure your house is secure – and don’t leave anything to chance with keys lying about.
“If anything happens or you see something suspicious then call the police.”
The Lock Down campaign launched with a roadshow event staged at Dobbies Garden Centre in Lasswade last week where members of the team engaged with customers, shared advice and information plus demonstrated straightforward solutions to prevent break-ins..
Midlothian’s Crime Prevention Officer, Constable Iain Jeffrey said: “The aim of the campaign is ultimately to make Midlothian a safer place and reduce the chances of its residents becoming a victim of housebreaking.
“These recent figures illustrate housebreaking is a major issue in our county and hopefully the campaign will help raise awareness of crime prevention methods.
“Lock Down Crime encourages residents to think twice about the importance of safeguarding their property and something as simple as having a night time closing and locking routine or installing a new lock will not only give them peace of mind, but also secure their home.”
The next Lock Down Crime in Midlothian roadshow is scheduled for Tesco Superstore at Dalkeith on November 21, residents are encouraged to visit www.midlothian.gov.uk/lock-down-crime for further information.