Dark nights bring dark deeds by house breakers - Iain Ramsay

In what has been another busy and challenging year for policing in Edinburgh, we now find ourselves in the final months of 2022 and very much within the winter season, with the nights now shorter and darker.

Detective Chief Inspector Iain Ramsay
Detective Chief Inspector Iain Ramsay

This is typically when we start to see a rise in certain forms of acquisitive crime, including robbery, housebreaking and vehicle theft, with suspects utilising the additional cover of darkness to commit crimes.

I want to reassure our communities that we will investigate any and all reports of acquisitive offences to bring offenders to justice and reunite rightful owners with their stolen property. However, we remain committed to crime prevention and want to ensure the public have all the necessary information they require to protect themselves against such crimes.

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Please remember to appropriately secure your property whenever you go to bed for the evening or whenever you head out and leave your home unoccupied. Similarly keep all valuables stored in safe locations and out of sight from prying eyes.

Keys to your vehicle should not be within easy reach of your front or back door, should someone successfully force entry, as this will allow them to take the vehicle using the true key. In the same vein, please ensure when you park up, you do so in a well-lit area, lock up and remove any valuables from within.

If you have sheds, garages or outbuildings it is important to treat these as extensions of your own home and make sure they are also locked up properly at all times when they are not in use.

We would recommend that you invest in robust locks for your doors and if possible, consider motion-activated lighting, alarm systems and even CCTV, all of which will serve as deterrents against would-be housebreakers.

All of our crime prevention advice is available on our website at www.scotland.police.uk.

My dedicated team of detectives have recently seen two of our high profile investigations come to a successful conclusion in court. The first case involved a male, who had been targeting vulnerable business premises with lone shop workers. He was convicted of several robberies across various locations in Edinburgh. The second case involved a male who was convicted of attempted murder having driven a motor vehicle at a member of the public in a targeted attack. These individuals were sentenced to over 7 and 5 years imprisonment respectively.

Both of these convictions should send a very clear message that we treat all such offences with the utmost seriousness and will investigate robustly whenever they occur to bring the perpetrators to justice.

I want to finish this column by reiterating some previous prevention advice we have given in relation to an issue that continues to increase in prevalence, not only here in Edinburgh, but across the country – sextortion.

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This is when someone strikes up a conversation or relationship with you online and obtains intimate images from you before threatening to make the images public if you don’t send them cash.

If you find yourself in a situation where someone asks for intimate images or video, do not agree to the request and stop interacting with them.

Should you be in a position where you are being blackmailed after sharing images, please do not panic and under no circumstances agree to send money to the suspect. Report the matter to police so it can be appropriately investigated and we can provide you with all the relevant support and assistance.

Information about staying safe online can also be viewed on our website.

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Detective Chief Inspector Iain Ramsay, Edinburgh CID