Police in Coventry have been criticised for a rather unconventional social media campaign where they tweeted pictures of themselves inside homes that have been left unlocked.
The Independent report the bizarre campaign is called #stoleninseconds and has seen Coventry police officers searching the streets looking for open windows and unlocked doors to highlight the risk of burglary to residents.
— St Michaels Police (@StMichaelsWMP) January 14, 2016
Two photos, which have since been taken down, show a police officer standing inside a person’s hallway, while another shows an officer sneaking into a home through a side door.
Other photos, which are still on the force’s Twitter feed, show them standing by unlocked gates to communal areas and pointing out easily accessible open windows.
Although the police haven’t received any official complaints the scare tactic hasn’t been well received by residents on Twitter, who’ve hit back at police officers posting pictures of themselves inside people’s homes without permission.
One tweeted: “Pretty sure ‘wandering in to make a point’ would receive a very dim view from the IPCC,” while another said: “If you enter my home like this, don’t be surprised if I use reasonable force when I hear you”.
The force responded to complaints on Twitter, saying: “Thanks for all the feedback on one of the burglary prevention tactics. We’ll review based on feedback #socialmediasuccess ?”
— Craig Walder (@craigwalder) January 24, 2016
In a statement, Coventry Police Chief Inspector Helen Kirkman, said:
A significant proportion all burglaries in this area − in excess of 25 per cent − are ‘walk-in’ offences committed by opportunists taking advantage of properties left unsecure.
Neighbourhood police teams have been on patrol to deter such offences, look for suspects, and to offer crime prevention advice to residents. If they find a door or window left open I think people would want officers to check everything is OK at that address and not to just walk on by.
We have had very positive feedback from residents…they are grateful for officers pointing out what they’ve found and the advice they’re offered.
As well intentioned as this campaign is, did no one in the planning stages think it’s also incredibly creepy?