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Sep 27 2011

Crime prevention during Navratri

Police are warning residents to take extra care of their valuables during the autumn festival season.

Harrow police officers will be taking part in a procession to mark the start of the Hindu festival of Navratri, tomorrow, Wednesday 28 September.

As well as joining the procession, officers are attending temples and venues used for the festival across north-west London to advise residents how to stay safe during the nine days of the festival.

The Pothi Yatra procession starts at 09.45hrs at the International Siddhashram Shakti Centre, Palmerston Road, Wealdstone, passing through Wealdstone High Street, before finishing at Harrow Leisure Centre with a number of speeches and religious recitals, known as katha.

Officers with relevant language skills will be speaking with communities involved in the celebrations from across northwest London.

The crime prevention message will be extended to restaurants, shops, supermarkets and beyond.

Chief Superintendent Dal Babu said: “Harrow is one of the UK’s most diverse boroughs, with one of the largest Hindu populations in the country.

“Our Safer Neighbourhoods teams will be visiting all our temples and venues used to celebrate Navratri in order to spread crime prevention messages as wide as possible.

“Autumn is festival season for many communities and we are encouraging all our residents to follow some simple advice to reduce the opportunities for burglars and robbers.”

As part of the crime prevention campaign, police have released a pixilated image of a 27-year-old burglary victim whose wedding jewellery was stolen from her home in Harrow in July this year.

The image was taken on her wedding day and shows her alongside her husband, wearing emeralds, rubies and 24 carat gold (see the transcript below for her account of the burglary).

The victim said: “In July there were quite a few weddings happening in the family, and I was keeping a lot more (jewellery) at home then I ever would normally, and unfortunately that’s when we were burgled. They’ve taken all my wedding jewellery and all costume jewellery and my passports.”

“When my husband discovered the jewellery was missing, he told me and I was absolutely devastated. This is jewellery that I felt was so precious, and I was hoping to pass it down over the generations.”

“Since then (the burglary), The police have investigated, provided us with (crime) prevention advice. We are now having a burglar alarm fitted, our doors and windows are always kept locked, and I definitely don’t keep anymore valuables at home.”

The crime prevention advice is as follows:

Robberies

  • Staying safe is about listening and being aware of what and who’s around you.
  • Keep your jewellery covered when you are in public places.
  • Wear you bag across your body, so that it opens on the side facing you.
  • If somebody does try to snatch you bag or your jewellery, let it go and don’t fight to keep it – you’re less likely to be hurt.
  • Don’t take short cuts through dark places. Walk in the middle of the pavement facing the traffic, so vehicles can’t follow you.

Burglaries

  • Intruder alarms are the best deterrent against burglary because burglars don’t want to be seen or heard. If you have an intruder alarm, remember to set it when you go out.
  • Close and lock all easily accessible doors and windows when you go out or go to bed, especially those next to flat roofs and large downpipes.
  • Always lift the handle to engage the door locks. If you have a UPVC front or back door with a multi-locking mechanism, lock it with the key and remove it. Remember to put the key in a safe place out of sight, but within easy reach in case of fire.
  • Timer switches linked to lights and a radio will make your home look and sound occupied.
  • A small safe securely fixed to a solid surface will protect valuables and sentimental items.
  • Property mark valuables with your postcode and house name or number.
  • Photograph your jewellery separately against a plain, dark background and include a ruler in the picture to indicate actual size.

Further crime prevention advice can be found at www.met.police.uk or by speaking to your local Safer Neighbourhoods team.

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