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Asian people making themselves a target by wearing 'excessive' jewellery, says Asian Resource Centre vice chairman

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ASIANS are making themselves "targets" for robbers and burglars by wearing "excessive" jewellery in public and leaving it unsecured at home, a community leader has warned.

Chandra Babu, vice chairman of the Asian Resource Centre, told the Advertiser that "one chain" is enough but wearing more was "making it very difficult for the police".

His warning follows 78 burglaries involving Asian victims in the past two months, including 34 in Broad Green and Thornton Heath, as well as instances of necklaces being snatched in the street.

Police have warned people to keep their jewellery covered up or locked away until special occasions, advice Mr Babu echoed.

"Wearing excessive amounts of gold or valuable jewellery or keeping it at home should be discouraged because people are making themselves targets and making it very difficult for the police," he said.

"It's difficult because a crime is a crime. There should be no excuse for it, but Asian people need to be educated. They need to be more careful."

Last week, police published CCTV images of two men suspected of attempting to break into the home of an Asian family in Norbury Crescent on January 31.

Detective Inspector Brian Hobbs, from Croydon CID, said: "That family was clearly targeted.

"CCTV footage shows the suspects watching the family leave the house and drive away in a car.

"Once they were happy the car had driven off they tried to break in through the front door with a crowbar. We're not sure what disturbed them but they made off after two or three minutes.

"The family were targeted because of the type of jewellery in their home. It's often very valuable."

Det Insp Hobbs said the issue was not specific to Croydon. Burglars have targeted homes in south London, Sussex and Surrey because they know there's "big – and easy – money to be had".

Of the 454 burglaries in Croydon between December 14 and February 8, 78 involved Asian victims, with necklaces and laptops the main items taken.

However, it could be argued that the figures are fairly proportionate, with Data from the 2011 Census showing 16 per cent of the borough's population are Asian.

Among recent burglaries was a spate of three on the afternoon of January 28. Det Insp Hobbs believes the burglars are working in several distinct "teams". So far no one has been arrested.

Mr Babu said the issue dates back at least 15 years.

He added: "I have noticed an increase recently but the difference now is that people are reporting, whereas in the past they didn't. That's a good thing.

"It's an issue at the moment because there have been a lot of new arrivals from India, Pakistan and other Asian countries."

The effort to reduce the number Asian 'gold burglaries' is being led by a specialist team at Scotland Yard. Police said decorations for celebrations such as Eid, Navrati and Diwali attract burglars to particular homes. The Met says valuable items should ideally be stored away from home in a bank safety deposit box. If the valuables are kept at home then they should be secured in a safe built into a wall or floor. Many items of Asian gold jewellery are bespoke and not marked with serial numbers, which make them difficult to trace. Police suggest all valuable items are photographed. Other advice also includes double-locking doors, checking windows are locked and installing CCTV cameras.

Asian people making themselves a target by wearing 'excessive' jewellery, says Asian Resource Centre vice chairman


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