Autumn is here and the clocks will be going back at the end of the month, meaning darker afternoons and increasing opportunities for criminals.
The number of residential burglaries is currently around the same level as they were at same period last year, however during the autumn and winter months burglaries do tend to increase. If a home is left unlit during the dark afternoons, burglars know that the property is empty, so residents are being urged to follow home security advice in the months leading up to Christmas.
Local Safer Neighbourhood teams will be holding crime prevention events across the county this autumn, offering free security devices, as well as tips on keeping homes and valuables safe. Keep an eye on your local team’s social media pages for event details.
Residents are also being advised to consider installing some of the affordable security devices which are currently available. There’s a variety of inexpensive security lights and wi-fi-enabled doorbell and interior cameras, fitted with motion sensors, which enable you to monitor your home remotely using your phone. These kinds of devices can be easily installed at minimal expense and have helped to deter burglaries and in some cases led to offenders being arrested.
Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, said: ““We have continued to see considerable and sustained reductions in residential burglaries over the past three years with the number reduced by almost half. It does however remain a high priority for the public, my office and the constabulary. For many years now Hertfordshire Constabulary has maintained a practice of attending every residential burglary, which is now being copied by all forces in England and Wales.”
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Clawson, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Local Policing Command said: “Burglaries haven’t increased over the last year in Hertfordshire, however there is the potential to see an increase once the clocks go back. Burglary is a priority for us and we will always attend if your home is burgled to provide support and conduct a thorough investigation with forensic specialists. We have specialist detectives that actively target offenders who travel into the county from other areas.
“Making sure your home appears occupied is the best way to deter burglars, by using a timer to switch on a light when it gets dark. Securing windows and double-locking PVCu doors, by lifting the handle and turning the key to engage all the safety features, are also easy ways make sure your home is secure. We would also advise residents to install some of the affordable security devices, like doorbell cameras and wi-fi plugs. These kinds of devices are easy to install and are getting cheaper.”
Residents can make their homes more secure by following some basic crime prevention advice such as:
Lock all doors and windows and ensure any PVCu doors are locked properly by lifting the handle and using the key to double-lock them
Consider installing a doorbell camera, internal camera and/or monitored burglar alarm
Install ‘dusk to dawn’ external lighting and use timer switches or wi-fi plugs/systems in your home to control internal lights, radios and a simulated TV.
Keep keys and valuables secure and out of sight
Ensure boundary fences are secure with side gates locked. Keep tools and ladders in a locked shed
Secure bins at night and put garden furniture away for the winter as these can be used by burglars as climbing aids to gain access to upper floor windows
Ensure your vehicle is locked and remove all valuables as burglars often check to see if doors are left unlocked
Look out for your neighbours especially in they are vulnerable, by reporting any suspicious activity you notice in your area.
An ’OWL crime alerts’ app is also available to download and users will receive pop-up notifications for important messages like high risk missing people or live time emergencies, for example where areas may need to be evacuated.