Police in Derbyshire are urging the public to be on their guard against burglars as the dark winter nights draw in.
In the last year, there has been a 10 per cent drop in the number of burglaries of homes across Derbyshire.
But there is usually a seasonal spike in house burglaries at this time of year as opportunist thieves take advantage of the dark nights to target homes.
To help combat this spike, police will be stepping up patrols, delivering advice leaflets to homeowners and targeting known offenders.
Officers are also urging residents to take steps to protect their own homes from the risk of burglary now the clocks have gone back.
This includes fitting burglar alarms, keeping valuables out of sight and marking possessions so that they can be returned to you if they are stolen and recovered.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill said: “A drop in burglaries across Derbyshire is very pleasing to see. But at this time of year, with the nights drawing in, it is definitely worth checking your home security to reduce the risk of being targeted as much as possible.
“Thankfully, there are some simple techniques to help you do this.
“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.”
Security advice being offered by police includes:
• 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.
• Be vigilant and report suspicious activity immediately to the police either on 999 if you believe a crime is in progress, 101 if you have ongoing information in relation to criminals or offences or anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.