Police are urging residents to take crime prevention measures this winter as part of a campaign against burglary.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is focusing on burglary throughout November as part of its award-winning Get Close campaign.
Using crime analysis the campaign seeks to raise awareness of different offences, at the most effective time, throughout the year.
Burglary is a priority for the force and officers across the county are working hard to catch offenders.
However, with the clocks having gone back at the weekend and the days getting shorter, officers are concerned that burglars will target homes mid-to-late afternoon and will look for properties that are unoccupied.
There have been a spate of recent burglaries outside of the Fenland area and Community reduction officer Carol Aston said: “Burglars target homes they think are empty so it’s important that people try to make their homes look occupied.
“ Properties are generally broken into from the rear because the burglar doesn’t want to be seen so people should make it as difficult as possible to access their back garden. Tall fencing, noisy gravel, spiky hedges and an alarm system are all worth the investment.
“ And of course, windows and doors should always be locked when there is no one at home.”
Last winter, there were 961 burglaries in the county during the four months, from November to February, with 224 in November, 227 in December, 296 in January and 214 in February.
Other crime prevention measures include:
*Remove keys from window and door locks, but keep them in a familiar and safe place where all members of the family know where to find them in the event of an emergency.
* Never leave items such as keys, bags and money on show through a window, as these can prove a real temptation for an opportunist burglar.
* Consider the position of key racks or shelves next to doors and ensure that they cannot be reached through the letter box.
* Use timer switches to turn on lights and radios when you are going to be away from your house at dusk.
*Consider the use of lights at the front and rear of your property that are activated when someone approaches.
* Consider the use of bolts and padlocks on side gates. Place the bolts at the top, middle and bottom of the gate, as just a top bolt might be easy to reach and open.
*Consider chaining together all high value items stored in outbuildings, as this will make it harder for them to be removed. Also consider the use of a wireless alarm or link your shed or garage into an existing home intruder alarm system.
* Homeowners are urged to check their home insurance policies to ensure their property meets the security standards required. Insurance companies often refuse to pay out if properties do not meet these standards or are left unsecured.
Crime prevention advice can be found on the force website in the Get Closer section. Residents are also urged to sign up to eCops to receive email updates from their local policing team. Follow the link on the force website.
Suspicious activity should be reported to the police on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress, Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111, or through Neighbourhood Watch.