Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Jewel thieves 'are targeting Asians'
9:36am Monday 8th October 2012 in Worcester
ASIAN people in Worcester fear they are being targeted by professional burglars who raid their homes for cash, gold and jewellery.
A distraught dad, who declined to be named, was at work when his terraced home in Victoria Avenue, off London Road, Worcester, was ransacked on Wednesday.
His wife was out just 40 minutes when burglars struck between 2.20pm and 3pm. The 33-year-old believes Asian people are being targeted because thieves think they have cash, gold and jewellery although West Mercia Police does not believe burglars are targeting the community.
He believes the house was staked out first and no fingerprints were found, suggesting they were wearing gloves.
He said: “I believe they were targeting us specifically because we are Asian. They are professionals, definitely. The police think they were after cash and gold. These people know that Asians have gold and they’re using that to maximum advantage.”
Police told him a specialist tool was used to rip out the window’s locking mechanism and gain entry to the living room, although nothing was taken.
He said: “I haven’t slept the last two nights. The whole house was totally ransacked. The mattresses were thrown everywhere. All the bedrooms were turned upside down and the guys didn’t find anything so they started throwing things around.
"My wife is scared to stay in the house in the day when I’m not there because the burglary happened in the middle of the day.”
Coun Jabba Riaz, cabinet member for safer and stronger communities at Worcester City Council, warned all people to be vigilant, lock all doors and windows, install alarms and keep cash and jewellery in a safe or safety deposit box in the bank.
He said: “No one should have to be subjected to such disturbing attacks, but the sad reality is this will go on and on unless we personally take pro-active steps in tackling this, look out for your neighbours and report anything suspicious.
“Burglaries can happen to anyone. The value of gold and jewellery has risen recently and burglars have cottoned on to the fact that this specific community have a lot more gold and jewellery.”
Haris Saleem, president of the Muslim Welfare Association, said he knew of five or six burglaries of this type in the last few months on Asian households.
He said: “This is a problem for all communities but Asians are perceived as an easy target for burglars to go into the houses and find something – gold rings and earrings and bangles.”
A police spokesman said: “We have been aware for some time now of concerns from members of the Asian community that they are being targeted for jewellery and cash.
"We have looked into this issue and can confirm that there is no evidence to support the claim that Asian households in Worcester are more likely to be burgled than the homes of any other ethnic group living in the city.
“The majority of burglaries are opportunistic and this would not take into account ethnic background.
"However, if a home has been burgled near to where you live, your chances of becoming a victim increase. With this in mind, after the burglary in Victoria Avenue, we would urge local residents to ensure windows and doors are locked and secure, and report any suspicious activity to us by calling 101.”