Police in East Antrim will be stepping up their efforts to keep local people safe in their homes, on the roads and out socialising this festive season.
With the countdown to Christmas well underway, Operation Season’s Greetings will see officers take increased steps to deter and detect criminals – with a special focus being placed on preventing burglars and shoplifters, keeping party-goers safe and tackling drink driving.
As reported by the Times recently, there has been a sharp rise in the number of burglaries in the Mid and East Antrim district over the past six months, including a sudden spike in commercial burglaries in Larne.
And as part of the new initiative, officers will be actively targeting prolific offenders.
Speaking to the Times, Chief Inspector Stephen McCauley said: “Burglary is one of the key areas we are working on. We are being proactive about this issue, but we need help from the public.
“Most thieves are opportunists, so don’t make your home an easy or an attractive target. Always lock doors and windows and where possible, don’t leave presents in view in your home or in your car.”
The campaign also focuses on keeping people safe and preventing crime and in town centre areas this festive season.
Chief Insp McCauley added: “There are a number of elements to this.
“Firstly, we are looking at the daytime economy and people going out and shopping.
“Due to the rise in shoplifting at this time of year, there will be an increase in high visibility patrols in the town centre in an effort to prevent crime and reassure both shoppers and business owners.
“As it is party season, we will also be focusing on the night time economy in the town centre. The message we want to go out is for people to go out and enjoy themselves, but to get home safe.
“Look after your friends, plan your journey home in advance, stay in well lit areas and never accept a drink from someone you don’t know.”
The initiative will also see officers actively clamping down drink drivers.
Chief insp McCauley said: “Our message to road users is simple: if you are planning on having a drink at your Christmas party or anywhere else, leave the car at home. Just one drink can kill, so don’t take the chance.
“We will be on the look out for drink drivers at all times of the day so remember that you may still be over the limit and unfit to drive the following morning.”
Chief insp McCauley concluded: “Christmas is a busy time of year for everyone, including the criminal, so don’t let them cash in on your Christmas.
“We want local residents to enjoy this festive season and we will do what we can to ensure criminals don’t get the opportunity to spoil it, but please play your part, be responsible, and help to make this Christmas safe and enjoyable for everyone.”