Police Warning Over Winter Burglaries

Cleveland Police have issued a warning over home security during the dark winter nights.

Officers are advising residents to leave lights on when they go out and encouraging them to use electronic timers that automatically switch on in the evenings.

Statistics show that the number of break-ins soars during the winter months, with 1,270 homes in the force area being burgled between October 2015 and March this year.

But police believe that taking some simple precautions can significantly reduce homeowners’ chances of being targeted by thieves.

“It’s really important that people ensure their homes are well lit when it’s dark outside as it helps to deter potential burglars from trying to gain access to homes,” said Detective Chief Inspector Chris Downes.

“Simple steps such as leaving on a light when you go out can be enough to prevent your home from being targeted.

“It’s also important to keep valuable items out of sight and to keep all windows and doors locked as this will also prevent burglars gaining access to your home.”

Residents should contact police is they notice anyone acting suspiciously in their neighbourhood or if they have information about criminal behaviour in the area.

Other steps that can deter burglars include marking high-value property with SmartWater, which is only properly visible using ultraviolet light.

Home Security Month, held ever October, listed the five worst places you can hide valuables, in a guest blog by a national locksmith’s firm.

They were…

  1. Underwear drawer: This is said to be one of the first places an intruder will look.
  2. Fridge or freezer: Burglars are wise to tricks such as hiding valuable wrapped in tin foil – and they might also check here for prescription medicines.
  3. Kids’ bedrooms: These are often filled with expensive electronic gear that can easily be sold on, so will be on the intruder’s agenda.
  4. Under the bed or a mattress: This may be a safer place while you’re asleep, but most offences take place when the home is empty.
  5. The toilet tank: This is another well-known hiding place thanks to being highlights in films and TV shows.

The locksmith recommended investing in a high-quality safe that can be bolted to the floor.

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