Police have urged the public to be vigilant against burglaries ahead of the clocks going back this weekend (Sunday 28 October).
Officers say opportunist burglars target homes with no lights or sounds to indicate that the property is occupied, as there is a reduced chance they will be caught in the act.
Operation Maze is identifying long-term crime hotspots, short-term spikes and key offending patterns, as well as investigating offences and carrying out disruptive tactics against known burglars.
Steps to protect your home include:
- Use your lights at home – keep them on a timer when you are out so it looks like someone is home
- Make sure all doors on your house and vehicle are securely locked at all times. If you have a UPVC door at home, make sure it is double locked
- Keep all valuables and keys safely out of sight from windows, both in your home and car. Close curtains with a light on indoors
- Never leave garages or sheds unlocked – not only can valuable tools be appealing to thieves, they can also be used to force entry to your home
- Don’t hide your keys under a doormat or in a flowerpot – it’s the first place a would-be offender will look
- Ask a friend to keep an eye on your house when you go away, and do the same for neighbours by remaining alert to suspicious activity in your street
- If you spot someone behaving suspiciously, contact police immediately
-Don’t forget to security mark your property and register it on www.immobilise.com
Detective Inspector Janine Graham, who leads Op Maze, said: “The impact of burglary crime goes far beyond the material items that are taken; victims are often left with longstanding feelings of being unsafe in their own homes. It’s therefore important for all of us to take whatever steps we can to reduce the chances of being burgled.
“The winter months are our busiest time for burglaries, and as we enter the time of year where the nights are darker and longer, we remain committed to driving down burglary in Bedfordshire.
“We have found historically that properties that don’t look ‘lived in’ are targeted, and so in particular, I would encourage people to invest in timers for lights. If you are going out, make it look like you are in.
“Our team is committed to apprehending offenders known to be committing burglaries and has seen a number of individuals being sentenced to significant jail time this year.
“Notwithstanding this, any tactics we can use to stop the crime from happening in the first place are hugely beneficial.”
Bedfordshire Police takes all reports of crime seriously. Call 101 to report an incident, or 999 if a crime is in progress.
You can also give information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.