Now that darker late afternoon and evenings are here, police in Derbyshire have issued some advice for residents to help keep their homes secure and deter thieves.
A spokesperson for Derbyshire Constabulary said: "Although our area continues to be a safe place to live, most burglaries are carried out by a thief who might use the darker evenings to check which homes are empty, have valuables on display or searching for any security lapses."
Police say the following simple steps can reduce the chances of people falling victim to thieves.
- Keep windows and doors locked and secure at all times, whether you are in or out of your home.
- Keep valuables out of sight and out of reach of cap flaps, letterboxes, downstairs doors and windows.
- Leave your car keys in a secure place and not on a key hook.
- Use outdoor security lighting.
- Make your home look occupied when you are out – draw your curtains, leave a lamp on or leave a radio playing.
- If it will be dark before you get home, set your lights on timers.
- Consider fitting a burglar alarm - make sure it is installed properly by a reputable firm and is working. Also remember to set it before you leave home.
- A thorny hedge along the boundary of your property may put thieves off, as may a gravel path, as it's noisy to walk on.
- Keep gates, garages, sheds or outbuildings secure and ensure no tools are left outside.
- Make sure your house is visible from the street - keep shrubbery and hedges at the front of the house pruned to below one metre to remove any cover for a burglar to work unseen and give your neighbours every chance to spot something suspicious.
- Never leave a spare key outside of your house – burglars know the usual hiding spots.
Police are encouraging people to "be a good neighbour" and contact the force on the methods below if they see anyone acting suspiciously in their area. www.derbyshire.police.uk/Contact-Us. • Phone – call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In the event of an emergency, you should always call 999.• Facebook – send a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary • Twitter – direct message the contact centre on @DerPolContact • Website – complete the online contact form