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Crime prevention for dark nights 14 Nov 2017 Crime prevention for dark nights

Crime prevention advice for darker nights:

At home

Keep front and back doors locked at all times and keep keys and valuables out of sight and reach from cat flaps, letterboxes and downstairs doors and windows
Close, and ideally lock, all windows when you're not in the room – approximately one in four burglaries in the county still happen because doors have been left unlocked or windows left open

If it's dark before you get home, use timer switches to turn on the lights – change the times that the lights come on, to create the illusion that someone is moving around inside the house. Plug-in dusk-to-dawn lights are also popular
Make sure your door is well lit and fully visible from the street – dusk-to-dawn lamp adaptors are available from DIY stores
Check existing lighting is in good working order and replace any faulty equipment – remember to check batteries in torches and smoke alarms
Keep shrubbery and hedges at the front of the house pruned to below one metre – remove any cover for a burglar to work unseen and give your neighbours every chance to spot something suspicious
Keep curtains closed at night – if you are away, ask a trusted neighbour to close them for you, and open them again in the morning

On cold mornings, never leave your car unattended with the engine running to defrost the windows
Assess your property's perimeter and check it is secure. Cut back overgrown hedges and repair broken fences and gates
Secure sheds and outbuildings with good padlocks and consider fitting alarms. Lock all tools and ladders away securely


When out and about

When out in your car, look out for Park Mark accredited car parks and remove all items from your vehicle when you leave it
Don't leave your keys in the ignitions, even when filling up with fuel or popping into the shop
De-clutter your handbag – take out only what you need and avoid carrying large amounts of cash
When you're out shopping, keep all bags firmly closed and on your person at all times
Carry wallets and phones in inside pockets of jackets or coats, not in the back pocket of trousers
When using your credit or debit card, shield your PIN and take the time to make sure you safely put away your purse or wallet
Never leave your bag unattended on the back of trolleys or pushchairs
Don't be tempted to return to your car and drop off your shopping bags – keep them with you or take them home
If you see anything suspicious, or have an information about crime or criminals, call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111