POLICE are urging residents to take security precautions as the clocks go back and the evenings draw in.
A few simple steps can help keep homes and possessions more secure.
The clocks go back tonight (Saturday) one hour at 2am.
Crime reduction officer Carol Aston said: “The prospect of shorter daylight hours and long winter nights can make people worry more about crime and personal safety.
“As we move into winter months many people will be returning home from work, school, or maybe shopping to find homes in darkness and may feel more vulnerable in the dark, especially those that live alone.
“However, there are precautions people can take to ensure their homes are as secure as possible.”
• Installing good lighting is an excellent way to deter a would-be thief, particularly by fitting exterior lights with dawn-to-dusk sensors. These are light sensitive and switch on automatically when it gets dark and off again when it gets light.
• Use timer switches inside the property. These can be linked to lighting or even a radio giving the impression that someone is at home
• Close your blinds or curtains at night. This prevents people from looking into your home. If your children are home first from school encourage them to close curtains and blinds first.
• Keep windows and doors secure, even if you are at home. The majority of burglaries happen because someone has left a window or door open.
• Lock side gates. Potential burglars are less likely to try and break in from the front where they can be seen.
• Fit an alarm – around 75 per cent of attempted burglaries on homes fitted with alarms are unsuccessful
• Do not leave spare keys hidden outside for children – a burglar will always look for these first.
• Mark your valuables – expensive electrical equipment can be marked with your post code and house number – garden and shed equipment can be marked with a spare can of paint or even nail varnish.
• Do not leave car keys near the front door or anywhere easy to find.
• Ensure all gates, external doors (including cars) are locked and secure in the evening.
Please report anything suspicious in the area to the police on 0345-4564564, or 999 if you believe there is a real threat to life or property.