Communities urged to â€˜leave a light onâ€™ to deter darker nights burglars
26 October 2012
THE BIG 'Darker Nights Lights Switch On' saw the typically festive tradition come early to the region's streets as the force launched its latest anti-burglary campaign today (Friday 26 October).
Local residents across the force area from as far west as Wolverhampton, in Birmingham and over to Coventry participated in a special awareness-raising event yesterday evening (25 October) - bringing the essential 'Lock up, Lights on, Keys safe' message to life in their own street.
Click here to view all of the images taken across the region yesterday evening.
By plunging one home in each town or city into darkness and lighting up the houses either side, officers aimed to demonstrate just how easy it is for a burglar to spot an unoccupied property now that the darker nights are here.
To further reinforce the crime prevention message, a marked police car beamed a huge luminous target onto the dark house to urge all residents not to become a target for opportunist burglars.
Chief Inspector Adrian Atherley, force lead for burglary, said: "With the clocks going back this weekend and many people now returning from work after dark, we are urging our communities to keep home security in mind at all times.
"House burglary is down by 16 per cent or 2,989 safer homes - in the West Midlands compared to the same period last year*, but we mustn't be complacent.
"Traditionally, the onset of darker nights sees a rise in reports of burglary and while we work hard to put burglars behind bars, it is vital that householders also take simple steps to protect their home.
"An inexpensive timer switch for your lights for example, is an extremely effective burglary deterrent as it appears you're at home even when you're not."
Other simple burglary prevention tips include:
- Use door and window locks, even when someone is at home.
- Cancel newspapers and milk if the property is left unoccupied for a few days.
- Keep your shed and garage lock to ensure that garden tools can't be used to break into your home.
- Don't leave keys in hiding places such as under doormats - it's the first place thieves will look.
- Property mark your valuables and register them for free at www.immobilise.com
- Join your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme or start up your own if there isn't one in your street
Visit our Darker Nights burglary advice page for lots more useful information – including a quick-fire top ten 10 tips video and a downloadable luminous ‘No trick or treat’ card for your window if you don’t wish to be disturbed by callers at the door during Halloween.
*Home Office figures dated 18/10/12 for the period July 2011 to June 2012 compared to the same 12-month period the previous year.