Storing Christmas presents at home and in the car while out shopping, as well as generally having more cash around, makes easy pickings for opportunist thieves, warn police.
Bedfordshire Police officers and PCSOs will be out and about across the county next week, from Monday, December 9, once again handing out advice and help on how to prevent crime.
They will also be joined also by Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators, local authority partners and volunteers.
The teams will be at Willington and Flitwick on Wednesday, December 11, and in Bedford town centre and Ampthill on Thursday, December 12.
Leading the week long burglary reduction effort is Detective Superintendent Mark Tobutt, he said: “At this time of year burglars may hope to steal the high value goods bought by some in the run up to Christmas.
“I am asking people to take steps to ensure they have the right protection on doors and windows, invest in timer switches if they are going to be away and to ensure they have plans in place to stop mail visibly piling up or deliveries being left outside. These seemingly simple measures really do go a long way towards ensuring that your house is a hostile environment for burglars.
“Burglary is a continual priority for us and we will take strong action to investigate and arrest criminals with dedicated burglary patrols operating in crime hotspots through the winter months but the crime exists because there is a market for the goods that are taken. Combating the handling of stolen goods goes hand-in-hand with preventing burglary.
“All retailers, particularly pawnbrokers and charity-shop managers, should be particularly vigilant when it comes to taking in items and call the police immediately they notice suspicious behaviour on the part of a client or suspect an item of being stolen.
“Similarly, people should be wary of anyone selling cut-price goods in pubs or on the streets. It may be tempting to snap up a quick bargain, but if that item is stolen, you are committing an offence and are liable for prosecution.
“After spending lots of time and money buying gifts for the ones you love the last thing you want is to return home one evening and find all your presents stolen so here are a few pointers for a safe and happy festive season.”
Never keep wrapped presents on view under your Christmas tree where it’s likely they will be on full view form the street. Instead store them safely in a cupboard or attic until the last possible moment.
If you intend to return a gift, don’t keep the receipt in the bag with the item. That just makes it easy for the burglar to collect the money if he breaks into your house.
After Christmas, don’t put all the boxes of your new goodies out in the street for rubbish collection, it’s an advertisement of what you’ve got inside.
Use your lights – keep them on a timer. Make sure they are switched on early even if you leave them on whilst going shopping or on the school run. And remember; use the lights in a main room and not in the hall way so it looks like someone is home.
Make sure your doors are securely locked at all times. If you have UPVC door make sure they are double locked.
Fit locks at the top and bottom of patio doors.
Visible alarms make burglars think twice – make sure you switch them on when you go out.
Never leave garages or sheds unlocked.
Check for weak spots and sagging fences on your boundary.
Don’t forget to security mark your property and register it on www.immobilise.com