Here's a bright idea, invest in a timer light switch this winter
Unfortunately dark nights statistically means there is a rise in burglaries, as often residents leave their homes looking unoccupied.
Thames Valley Police is working with Chiltern Community Safety Partnership and South Bucks Community Safety Partnership to keep you safe as the darker nights draw in.
Officers will be patrolling neighbourhoods and burglary hot spot areas identifying houses that could be at risk of burglary and posting a 'Here's a bright idea' postcard through the door advising people to contact them for further crime reduction advice.
After the hours of darkness, if no light is on in your home, curtains are not drawn, and no car is in the drive, it's an obvious sign to an opportunist burglar that no-one is in. At this time of the year more than any other it pays to secure your home.
There are a number of simple ways to do this, all of which will help reduce the chance of your home becoming the next target.
Don't leave your home in darkness advertising the fact there is no one at home. Visit a local retailer to pick up a timer light switch for under £5. The timer can be used with a lamp, radio or TV to give the impression that someone's home. Remember to use an energy efficient light bulb.
Keep valuables out of sight and mark them with your house number and postcode using a UV pen. If you do not have one you can request a free UV pen by contacting Chiltern Community Safety Team on 01494 586535.
Register your valuables via Immobilise. It's free and takes just a few minutes and if your valuables are stolen, will allow you to tell the police, your insurer, and the second-hand trade to assist in recovering your property and catch the thief. Keep an inventory list. You can create your own or use our downloadable inventory list template.
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. You should also ensure the key is removed from the lock but is easy accessible in case of emergency, but also out of reach of your front door. For more advice take a look at the downloadable crime reduction leaflets.
If you have jewellery at home, take photographs of it for insurance purposes and consider storing it in a suitable safe. See the downloadable safe information leaflet for more advice about safes.
- Look out for your neighbour's house, especially when they're not at home. If you see anything which you feel does need urgent police attendance (e.g. anyone unknown in your neighbours' back garden), phone 999 immediately. If you see anything suspicious, which does not need an immediate police response, phone Thames Valley Police on the non-emergency number 101.
- If you are not a member of Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) you can find details of your local group by contacting David Alder, Chiltern NHW Multi Scheme Administrator (MSA) on 07795 412956 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org If no such group exists in your area, then consider establishing your own group.
Residents can follow their local police and community safety via Twitter @TVP_ChiltSBucks
For regular updates on crime and disorder in your area you can sign up to Thames Valley Alert