With summer now in full swing, Police in Three Rivers are reminding holidaymakers to ensure their homes aren’t easy pickings for burglars while they’re out for the day or on holiday.
Rising temperatures are often matched by a spike in domestic burglary reports as people tend to leave windows, doors and garden gates open on the longer summer days, all of which provide criminals with an opportunity.
Between April and June this year, the force recorded 62 residential dwelling burglaries across the district compared with the previous year’s figure of 55 for the same time period.
Incidents of burglary traditionally increase during the summer holiday stretch, as homes are left unoccupied. An empty property is a criminal’s dream, but if you take some simple steps to give the impression that somebody’s home, they are much less likely to try their luck.
Three Rivers Chief Inspector Nick Lillitou said: “I know many residents will be looking forward to taking their summer breaks over the next few months. Many will also be leaving their properties unoccupied but by taking a few precautions before you set off, you can ensure your home is more secure and less of an attractive target for criminals.
“I want to reassure the community that my teams proactively patrol any particular areas identified as burglary hotspots and will deal vigorously with anyone suspected of breaking into homes. The bottom line is, would-be burglars don’t want to be seen or disturbed so will always choose a home that is obviously empty over one that could be occupied.”
Here’s what you can do to help make your home more secure and less attractive to criminals:
• Ask a neighbour to put your bins back if they’re being collected whilst you’re away – if they’re left out after collection day it could indicate to a passing thief that your house is unoccupied. Be a good neighbour and do the same for them. If you don’t have neighbours, considering asking a friend or family member to do it.
• If you are taking your car on your trip, ask a neighbour, friend or family member to park their car on your drive.
• Don’t forget to cancel regular deliveries such as milk or newspapers.
• Consider moving valuable items, like laptops and televisions, out of sight from the windows
• If you are away for an extended period over the summer months, ask a neighbour, friend or family member to cut your grass. An unkempt garden can suggest an empty property.
• You could also ask someone you trust to help give your home the lived-in look by opening and drawing the curtains or blinds and moving any post away from the letterbox.
• You could move any valuables into your loft when you go away.
• Consider installing a Wi-Fi enabled doorbell camera or CCTV system.
• Be mindful what information you are posting on social media. If you post about your holiday or ‘check in’ online, make sure you adjust your privacy settings to ensure you are only sharing your updates with people you know and trust. Using location services to tag where you are can also tip people off that you are not at home or can even give them your precise address.
• Join your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme or if there isn’t one, perhaps you could start one.
Visit hertswatch.com for details on local watch schemes.
If you believe a burglary is in progress right now, or you think someone may be committing a crime, always dial 999.
For further crime prevention advice, please visit herts.police.uk