The fresh warning comes after 25-year-old Jake Spendlove ransacked a house on Castle Street, Barnsley, in September and was handed a two-year sentence just weeks later following proactive work carried out by town centre-based investigators.
Spendlove entered the home through a window that had been left slightly ajar and took around £1,000 in valuables, as well as a large amount of foreign currency before being apprehended.
The incident was classed as a ‘sneak-in burglary’ - where a criminal doesn’t have to use force to gain entry - and it’s a type that police have been keen to warn about after 40 per cent of summer break-ins were attributed to unsecured windows or doors.
Over the year to July, more than 1,500 residential burglaries took place, while a further 646 incidents of business-related burglary took the total figure to about 2,100 in 12 months.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Murphy said: “The police do absolutely everything they can to stop these crimes from happening and the public can help by following basic crime prevention strategies such as not leaving valuables on show and having a secure place to store keys.
“I want to reassure the people of Barnsley that catching burglars is our passion and we are doing absolutely everything we can to do this - those responsible face lengthy stretches behind bars.
“A burglary is one of the worst possible crimes for victims and I fully understand residents’ concerns.
“The reality is that people fear being burgled because it’s such an intrusive crime, but Barnsley’s residents can be assured that we’re monitoring trends, delivering specific operations and patrolling worst-hit locations, whether that’s day or night.
“It’s our job to allay fears and deliver an appropriate plan to protect people from being targeted.”
Insp Rebecca Richardson said she was pleased with the sentence given to Spendlove - and urged the public to continue reporting anything suspicious.
She added: “Burglary is such an intrusive crime and can have a bigger impact than people think.
“I am satisfied with the sentence Spendlove has received and hope the public are reassured that we are tracing people carrying out offences and bringing them before the courts.
“There are many routes people can take to contact the police, not just 101, so I’d encourage residents to use the online reporting system or contact their local neighbourhood team.”
However, concerns still remain in Shafton - which has a high amount of elderly residents - and one of the reasons behind it, according to its parish council, is a lack of police on the streets.
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings will take questions from the Shafton public at a meeting on November 25 after he was invited to discuss the current state of local policing with residents who have flocked to recent crime meetings.
Dave North, chairman of the parish council, said: “It’s important we get as many people to the meeting, which starts at 7pm in the community centre, as possible as there’s a lot of concern in Shafton.
“That’s predominantly down to rising burglaries and the lack of police on the streets.
“I believe both are linked - if there’s police presence it automatically deters burglars from even trying.”