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|Ibby Akkas (Police, Comms, Forcewide)
As the darker evenings approach, with trick-or-treaters preparing for Halloween, Thames Valley Police are offering tips for a safe and fun Halloween and are reminding residents to take basic home security measure to keep their home safe as the clocks go back on Sunday (29/10).
Detective Chief Superintendent, Richard List, said: “While Thames Valley generally has low crime rates, a house in darkness indicates that there’s no one at home and it could be an invitation to a burglar. There are a lot of simple measures you can do, which don’t have to be expensive, such as using a timer so that a light automatically comes on while you are out.
“Making sure your doors and windows are locked is a deterrent for an intruder. Many burglaries are opportunistic crimes, where the offender has identified an open window or insecure door and has easily let themselves into your home.”
Last year saw a 34% increase in residential burglaries in winter compared to summer (summer months include June 2016, July 2016, August 2016 and winter months include November 2016, December 2016 and January 2017).
“Many people only think about home security after they have been burgled. We want to encourage people to review this before they fall victim to crime. Similarly, valuables left on view on car seats provide an ideal opportunity for a smash and grab.”
Top tips to reduce the chance of your house being targeted:
- Invest in a timer light switch and vary the time it comes on each day to make it look more natural. It can also be used with a radio or TV to give the impression that someone’s home
- Consider installing a fake/simulated TV device which lights up a room like a real TV
- Keep valuables out of sight and mark them with your house number and postcode using a UV pen, or consider buying a forensic property marking system
- Register your valuables via immobilise and keep an inventory list. It’s free and takes just a few minutes
- If you have jewellery at home, photograph it for insurance purpose and consider storing it in a suitable safe
- Lock your doors and windows, if you have a UPVC door make sure you have double locked it by lifting the handle and locking it with the key. Make sure the key is removed from the lock and out of reach
- If you’re going away, remember not to post details of your holiday on social networking sites, cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries and if you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set before you leave
- Look out for your neighbours’ houses, especially when they’re not at home and call the police if you see anything suspicious on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Offering tips for a safe and fun Halloween, Detective Chief Superintendent, Richard List continues: “Whether you are a taking part in Halloween celebrations, or not, we want everyone to have a safe and fun evening.
“If you don’t want trick-or-treaters to knock at your door, you can put up a ‘no tick-or-treaters’ sign and close your curtains. Download a sign from our posters section of the Thames Valley Police website.
“If you don’t know who is calling at your door, you don’t have to answer it. Look through a spyhole or window before opening the door if you’re unsure, and have a chain in place if you do answer. If you feel threatened in your home, call 999.”
If your child is going out trick or treating, make sure they:
- Go out in a group and are accompanied by an adult
- Have a route planned and agree on a time they will be home
- Are respectful of other people’s property
- Have their mobile phone and a torch
- Are careful when crossing roads
- Know not to talk to strangers on the street or accept lifts
- Know not to go inside anyone’s house
You can also watch our Halloween safety video.
For further crime prevention advice, visit Thames Valley Police website.