The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is urging homeowners and tenants to take simple steps to guard against the risk of being targeted by burglars this winter.
As the Met launches its seasonal awareness campaign, new data demonstrates how people become more vulnerable to burglars during the winter months. Last year offences increased by one third [34 per cent] between November 2010 and February 2011 [average 194 offences per day] compared to April to August 2010 [average 145 offences per day].
As evenings get darker, burglars are on the prowl for valuables and cash, recognising that homes tend to be getting ready for seasonal celebrations and may have gifts and items around and on display.
During this period, properties remain in darkness for much longer periods which make them easier to target, especially if there are no obvious signs there is anyone home.
Advice to Londoners includes:
Close and lock all your doors and windows, even if you are only going out for a few minutes.
Make sure you do not leave your car keys, valuables or ID documents near a door, letterbox or window.
Leave some lights on if it will be dark before you get home
Mark or etch your property with your postcode, house or flat number or the first three letters of your house name.
Commander Christine Jones said: “Being burgled is a distressing experience and the memory of the offence can have a lasting effect.”
“The Met takes burglary seriously – we want people to feel safe in their homes and in their communities and we are working hard to pursue those responsible and bring them to justice. As part of our commitment, we are determined to raise people’s awareness of security with our latest campaign and help stop burglary from happening in the first place.
“Burglary, on the whole, is an opportunist crime, with 36 per cent of burglaries resulting from insecure premises.
“A burglar will select their target because it offers them the best opportunity to carry out their crime undetected and with the fewest number of obstacles in their way. A building that presents itself as unoccupied and insecure is far more likely to be targeted than one which is properly secured.
“Don’t let your home become a target. Help us to help you to protect your home by taking simple steps such as using timers to turn lights and radios on; fitting alarms; making sure homes are locked before going out and keeping valuables and presents out of view.
“I urge Londoners to find out more by visiting our dedicated page on our Met website www.metbumblebee.org .”
Safer Neighbourhoods Teams are also available to advise the public about the security of their property.
For more crime prevention tips and advice on how to make your home secure visit http://www.metbumblebee.org or contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team. In an emergency, always dial 999.
+ Ten top burglary crime prevention tips for Londoners:
1 Mark or etch your property with your postcode, house or flat number or the first three letters of your house name.
2 Register items with a serial number at www.immobilise.com
3 Do not leave your car keys, valuables or ID documents near a door, letterbox or window.
4 Always check who’s at the door and don’t open it if you feel anxious.
5 Close and lock all your doors and windows, even if you are only going out for a few minutes.
6 Keep your valuables out of sight
7 Leave some lights on if it will be dark before you get home
8 Fit a mortice lock to your front door and other external doors. Consider installing a burglar alarm.
9 Always keep sheds and outbuildings locked
10 Cancel milk or other deliveries if you will be away for days or weeks at a time.