This weekend the clocks go back and the nights extend into the darker autumn and winter months. It begins the time of a number of festivals and events many of which have ancient origins.
Sadly in more modern times, this period in the year has also become synonymous with an increase in burglaries to peoples homes. The clocks going back will bring Burglar Bill back onto the streets and it does not take a master criminal to work out the houses where no-one is at home once daylight has gone and there are no lights illuminated inside.
Please use the next couple of weeks to review your home security. You do not have to spend huge sums of money to minimise the risk of becoming a victim of burglary but you do have to look closely and what methods you currently employ.
One of the most effective things you can do is increase the natural surveillance given to your home by people who are just going about their business. The shrubs and hedges that have grown up in the summer can create a ‘safe area’ for someone intent in breaking in as their actions are screened from view as they hide behind. If you cut the plant back, not only can you improve the health of it, but you also reduce that ‘safe area’ it gives to the criminal.
To make this more effective develop a ‘buddy’ system with your neighbour. ‘Buddy’ means “I’ll watch out for you & you watch out for me”.
If your home is accessible from the rear make sure your side gates are padlocked. Your shed or garage needs a strong lock and your tools secured inside. It will be those tools the thief will use to get into your home if you make them easily available. Sets of ladders or anything else that can be used to climb up onto a flat roof or access your upstairs windows need to be secured. This includes your wheelie bin. A padlock and chain are cheap enough and very effective in reducing the opportunities the burglar has.
Put internal lights on timer switches so it gives the impression someone is home after dark. It’s also more pleasant to come home to. A radio on a timer switch also is a very good deterrent, especially if it’s tuned into a station which is mainly conversation.
Think about what refuse you put out on display. Don’t advertise the fact that you have just treated yourself to a new TV set by leaving the packaging out for the refuse collection. Don’t advertise the fact that you have a laptop by leaving it in view behind a ground floor window.
Lastly, be suspicious of people ‘cold calling’ at your home. If you are not happy with whom they purport to be – call the police.
All your local Safer Community Teams (SCT) have officers trained in giving you a home security survey. If you want to take advantage of this, please contact your SCT on Tel – 0845 090 1234 or by following the link through Neighbourhood Policing on www.gloucestershire.police.uk
Be safe in your home this winter