Police in Derbyshire are warning the public to be on their guard against burglars as dark winter nights draw in.
Although house burglary has fallen by 55 per cent in the last seven years there is usually a seasonal increase at this time of year as opportunist thieves take advantage of the dark evenings.
To help keep burglary down, police are stepping up patrols, delivering advice leaflets and targeting known offenders as well as asking residents to think about their home security before the clocks go back this weekend. In some areas officers will also give out free burglar alarms and timer switches.
Assistant Chief Constable Alec Wood said: “The low level of burglary is really encouraging but at this time of year with the nights drawing in it’s worth taking stock of your home security.
“As it gets dark it’s easier to tell when a home is unoccupied so it pays to introduce some simple security measures to create the impression that someone’s in.
“This not only helps to deceive burglars but it also reduces the chance that your home will be targeted.
“Timer switches are a good example and ensure your lights are on before you get home.
“Leaving lights on when you go out is another option but remember to draw your curtains to stop people from seeing in. You may also want to consider using low-energy light bulbs to help reduce your energy costs.
At any time of the year, the following home safety tips are useful to deter a potential burglar:
• Don’t leave any valuables where burglars could see them.
• Place small, high value items and banking documents a safe or secure and discreet location within the home. Do not leave them lying around.
• Mark all property with a UV pen so that when it is recovered by the police it can be reunited with its rightful owner and so police can prosecute burglars and handlers effectively. You should also register any valuable property using an asset register such as www.immobilise.com
• Ensure your property is secure and doors and windows are locked even when you are at home. It only takes seconds for an opportunist criminal to enter your premises and steal valuables.
• Ensure that your property is fitted with locking windows and substantial locks on doors as this will deter criminals.
• If possible fit a burglar alarm to your premises.
• If you would like a free security survey of your home or business contact your Safer Neighbourhood Team on 0345 123 33 33
Be vigilant and report suspicious activity immediately to the police either on:
• 999 if you believe a crime is in progress
• 0345 123 33 33 if you have ongoing information in relation to criminals or offences.
• Anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555 111