Concerns have been raised by residents in Ballyclare over recent weeks after a significant number of burglaries were reported .
A spate of burglaries and attempted break-ins in the town and surrounding villages, including a break-in at a property on the Burn Road, an attempted burglary at a home in Ballynure and a distraction burglary in Ballyeaston have caused distress among local people.
Commenting on the recent incidents, District Commander, Superintendent Emma Bond said: “We are working hard to reduce burglaries in the area through a mix of managing prolific offenders and increasing proactive and visible police patrols.
“The incidents of burglary across the district has reduced significantly from the previous year, although we continue to work hard to reduce this even further. However, I would again ask that people support us in putting criminals on the back foot.
“Please always lock windows and doors when you are not inside the home, and report any suspicious activity to us immediately. If you think that a crime is in progress, please dial 999. If it is a not an emergency, dial 101.”
Superintendent Bond added: “Local police work very closely with the Ballyclare Policing Forum, Policing and Community Safety Partnership and other agencies to address community safety issues in the area. The recent burglaries have already been highlighted with the forum and updates will be provided at future meetings.
“Local neighbourhood watch coordinators are also represented on the forum and, with their help and support, we are working to prevent further offences and to progress investigations into matters reported.
“It will take a collective effort between police and public to put these criminals before the courts, where they belong.”
Chair of the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), Cllr Paul Michael said everyone has a duty to report crime to the PSNI in order for offences to be tackled.
Speaking to the Times, the UUP representative said: “Any break-in has to be condemned- one is too many. The victims who are sadly on the receiving end must be willing to report these incidents to the police.
“Unfortunately there has been a worrying trend, where burglaries increase in the run-up to Christmas. I would urge everyone to check that their properties are secure and not to make it easy for criminals. I’d also ask everyone to keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable neighbours. Communication is everything, so I would encourage everyone to report anything suspicious to the PSNI, whether how small they think it is.”
Cllr Vera McWilliam believes there is currently a lack of available police cover in the area, which is adding to the number of offences being committed. The UUP representative explained: “There is a lack of policing in the area. The officers are doing their best, but there are just so few of them.
“I’d urge people to look out for their neighbours and I’d warn people not to open the door to anyone they don’t know. If anyone has any information that could assist police with the recent incidents in the town, I’d encourage them to contact the police on 101.”
Cllr McWilliam’s party colleague, Cllr David Arthurs added: “There is a worrying trend of burglaries in the area in the past number of weeks and I’d ask anyone with any information, whether you think it is significant or not, to contact the PSNI in Newtownabbey on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Commenting on the recent incidents, PUP representative Scott McDowell said: “The recent break-ins are definitely worrying developments and again show the need for an increased police presence in the town. I will arrange to meet with police to discuss these issues.”