Dark winter nights can provide easy pickings for criminals, with an increase in burglary numbers being recorded as the clocks go back at the end of October.
Traditionally the numbers of break-ins go up by as much as half when it gets dark earlier, and officers are urging the public to help.
Inspector Alex House, head of community safety, said: “It is known that burglars will not often target homes that are occupied and making sure your property looks and feels like someone is home can be all that is needed to keep your belongs safe.
“Simple crime prevention measures really can make all the difference such as leaving the lights on in main rooms and keeping a radio switched on and tuned in to a talk radio station.
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“Thieves are essentially lazy opportunists, and if they have to make a lot of noise, spend a lot of time, or risk being seen, they are unlikely to bother.”
Tipcs for households:
*Use your lights, and keep them on a timer. Make sure they are switched on early even if you leave them on while going shopping or on the school run. And remember; use the lights in a main room and not in the hallway so it looks like someone is home;
*Keep your radio switch on and tuned in to a talk station so it sounds like someone is at home;
*Make sure your doors are securely locked at all times;
*If you have UPVC door make sure they are double-locked;
*Lock all windows and fit restricters – thieves can wriggle through any gap larger than a human head;
*Fit locks at the top and bottom of patio doors;
*Visible burglar 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;
*Stop a thief from getting into the back of the house where he can work unseen by fitting a strong, high gate across a side passage;
*Be alert to strangers loitering in the street. If you don’t recognise them or they are acting suspiciously, call the police;
*Don’t hide your keys under the mat or in a flowerpot, that will be the first place they look;
*Beat bogus callers, by always stopping at the door, checking the chain is onm and verifying the caller’s identification before opening your door. If in doubt don’t let them in;
*Don’t forget to security mark your property and register it on www.immobilise.com
*Remember, if a burglar does get in to your home then handbags, wallets, and house or car keys are obvious targets. Don’t leave them in a prominent position such as at the bottom of the stairs, and keep your keys safely out of sight.
For more free crime prevention advice contact your nearest police station or speak to your local policing team on 101.
You can also email the crime reduction team at [email protected]