The winter period and dark nights is a lucrative time for thieves, cover of darkness makes it easier for them to increase their haul, so don’t be the next one they visit.
Some basic common sense will keep you and your home safe over the winter period.
Make sure that you don’t leave your home in darkness when you go out. Close the curtains, put the lights on and maybe the radio or TV so that it looks normal and occupied.
If you are going to be home after darkness (not difficult in mid winter when it’s dark by 4pm) then try and leave the house so that it looks safe after darkness falls – tilt your blinds, leave a light on a timer. Again, make your home look occupied in the dark.
In the Christmas period in particular, don’t leave huge piles of presents on view from a ground floor window. With large numbers of bungalows all along the Fylde Coast, it’s easy for a burglar to walk round the outside of your home, spot where the presents are, and make a bee-line for them. It’s a favourite trick! If there are unwrapped presents so much the better – gifts complete with carrier bags and receipts can be taken straight back to the shop for a cash refund – mannah from heaven!
At this time of year you might not go near your shed or garage for weeks at a time. If it’s out of view from your house, pop out and have a look at regular intervals and make sure it’s safe and hasn’t been disturbed. Outbuildings often contain quite a value of goods – things like lawnmowers, bikes, garden tools, power DIY equipment are all valuable and worth stealing – so make sure that yours are safe and sound over the winter months. If you do use your outbuildings, make sure that you secure them carefully after use with a sturdy lock, and mark your valuables with a UV pen. It’s very easy to go indoors and forget that you were going to lock the shed and haven’t done!
And finally, beware of bogus callers. As this is a retirement area it provides many easy targets for the professional con man, so if ANYONE turns up at your door who you aren’t expecting and you can’t vouch for or explain, don’t let them in.
Bogus callers and door knockers will often claim to be from the Police, Council or other agencies, often wear overalls or work clothes, or carry fake id. A genuine caller will always let you know they are coming, will usually make an appointment before hand, and won’t mind you phoning their place of work first to check that they are genuine before letting them into your house.
Report any incidents of suspicious activity that you see to the Police on the new non-emergency number 101, or if a crime is in progress telephone 999 straight away.
If you’ve got a burglar alarm – make sure you set it before you go out!
ALWAYS keep your front and back doors locked, when you go out, but ALSO when you are in the house.