Security Update November 2016

Message from the police, please read
Message sent by
James Pusey (Police, Corporate Communications, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight)

We’re issuing some basic crime prevention tips to boat owners in Fareham and Gosport after a recent spate of theft.

A total of 39 thefts of or from boats were reported to us between July 25 and October 31 at locations including Portchester, Fareham Creek, Hardway, Haslar Marina, and at Swanwick.

We’re investigating whether any of these reports are linked, but many of them took place in September and October as the nights were getting darker. In some cases smaller boats have been stolen to access larger vessels moored offshore. Electrical equipment such as radios or GPS systems have subsequently been stolen along with specialist marine clothing.

Dedicated patrols have been undertaken by the Marine Unit and the Neighbourhood Policing Teams have been speaking to boat owners and the management of marinas in the area.

Chief Inspector Sharon Woolrich said: “We take marine theft very seriously and I’d urge boat owners to report any suspicious activity to us at the time to enable us to respond appropriately.

“I’m pleased to say that so far in November no incidents of marine theft in the area have been reported.to us, but I’d like to remind people to keep their vessels and equipment as secure as possible”.

We’d like to take this opportunity to remind boat owners of the following crime prevention advice:

• There is only one way to guarantee that your property will not be stolen from your boat and that is to take it home. We understand that this is not always possible but try to look at your boat as you leave it and consider how it looks to a potential thief. Ensure attractive items you are leaving are out of sight or locked away.

• Take a moment to consider how you would get into your boat if you were locked out. This is probably the way the thief will try, so improve your security with effective locks which will last in the marine environment.

• Look at the equipment stored on your boat such as outboard motors and dinghies and use appropriate security devices to secure them.

• There are many different types of alarm, far too many to cover here. Speak to other club members and boat users; discuss the pros and cons, what do you want it to do? If your system notifies you someone is on board your boat, will you be in a position to respond to it?

• Many items are already marked with some sort of serial number - hull identification numbers on dinghies, engine numbers on outboards, serial numbers on electronics and life rafts. Make sure that you record these details somewhere that you can find them again if we need them.

• We strongly recommend additional means of marking. We acknowledge that this will not stop your things being stolen, but it increases the chances of us being able to return them to you. Ensure that the marks are clearly visible and difficult to remove. Support this by marking them out of sight, so that there is still something to check if the obvious marks are removed. Liquid marking systems are another effective means of marking property which could be considered. The important thing is to use a marking system which will allow the finder to identify you, such as a house or club post code or phone number, but they must be current so remember to update them.

• Take photographs of your property, as they say a ‘picture is worth a thousand words’. There is also some evidence to support the view that if property is clearly marked it is a less attractive item to sell. If the thief can’t sell it – why steal it? The other benefit to recording serial numbers and marking your items is the improved chances we have of prosecuting offenders.