'Don't be an open invite for burglars'

Police are encouraging people to be more vigilant, stay smart and switched on as we move into the darker months of the year in a bid to reduce the number of burglaries. 

After the clocks went back an hour on Sunday, it marks the start of darker nights and, more often than not, homes are left in darkness. 

Greater Manchester Police is warning residents that burglaries rise at this time of year and urging everyone to play their part in helping to keep their homes safe. 

Superintendent Dave Pester, who leads on burglary for GMP, said: "Districts across GMP have plans to reduce the number of burglaries and to target those responsible for committing these high impact crimes. Neighbourhood officers both in uniform and in plain clothes will be active in the hotspot areas identified across Greater Manchester and will be looking to offer advice to those homes they identify as being left insecure. Known offenders will also be targeted, and neighbourhoods will be given crime prevention information where required.

"Data shows over half of burglaries happen due to homes being insecure. Taking simple steps such as keeping doors locked even when at home, ensuring windows are secure and using the alarm if one is installed can all make a big difference.

"Keeping valuables well hidden, ensuring keys are kept away from letter boxes and cat flaps, good outside lighting and investing in a faraday bag (lined with metal to block key’s signal) can all help make it harder for burglars, inside and outside of our homes. Furthermore, ensuring ladders and tools are stored away so they cannot be used to enter your home and keeping hedges trimmed to allow visibility of property all help in our residents playing their part.

"Darker nights create a longer window for burglars to enter homes under darkness, so its important residents use lights to give the impression someone is home. 

"Burglaries can happen any time of the day, so it is essential everyone remains vigilant, both day and night. If we can all be more pro-active in following our advice, burglary should continue to fall."

People are also being encouraged to register their property on Immobilise.com - a free register for valued possessions such as mobile phones and TVs. 

Police say it's "very effective" in helping to reduce crime and returning stolen property to its owners, as registered goods are saved on a national database which is used thousands of times a day by police across the UK. It also identifies when property has been stolen, for example on a stop and search. 

Suspicious activity can be reported to police via the Live Chat on the GMP website or call 101 but dial 999 in an emergency. Crimestoppers enables anyone to pass on such information whilst remaining anonymous by calling them on 0800 555111. 

Police added: "Homes left in darkness can attract burglars as it is often signals no one is home, but taking simple steps such as using light timers, leaving lights on and even leaving the television on can all help deter would be burglars from targeting your home. 

"It is really important that our communities help us to combat burglaries by passing intelligence regarding active burglars and handlers of stolen goods." 

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