Protect your home against opportunist burglars by remembering to ‘lock up, lights on’ when the clocks go back and the nights draw in.
- Dark evenings can provide perfect cover for burglars who can easily spot an open window in an unoccupied room, see your valuables through open curtains or blinds, or try their luck with an unlocked door while you’re distracted by fireworks. Try to make your house look as occupied as possible when you are not there.
- Don’t leave your house and vehicle keys in the lock or on a side table in view of a window making it easy for a thief to fish them through your letterbox
- Don’t leave items in open porches that could be used to enter your home, for example, curved-handled umbrellas to open doors or keys through letterboxes
- Always lock your front door from inside - in particular UPVC front doors that have handles, as they are often left unlocked when people are in their house. Burglars know this!
- Check your UPVC or Euro cylinder door lock to see if it is snap resistant. I should be stamped with a three star Kite Mark. If it is not, you get the lock changed to either a SS312 Diamond Approved Cylinder, TS007 3 Star Kitemarked Cylinder, or a 1 Star Cylinder with 2 Star handle for maximum protection. For more information contact the Master Locksmiths Association, or read this guide.
- Cancel newspapers and milk if you’re going away for a few days and ask a trusted friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your property, pushing post sticking out of the letterbox inside fully
- West Midlands Police are working in partnership with Selecta DNA to offer local residents a discount on their property marking kits. To get 50% off a DNA property marking kit (plus free postage and packaging) all you need to do is sign up to our FREE WMNow alert service here https://www.wmnow.co.uk/ - the discount code can be found in your welcome email.
- Play our interactive game 27 Station Road where you are the detective at the scene of a house burglary. Explore the property and uncover clues about how the burglar broke in − and what the householder could have done to keep them out. Exploring the game will help users review their own security and put measures in place to prevent a burglary happening in their own home.
If you would like to read further advice, or if you need to report a burglary to us, please visit our dedicated burglary page.
Beat the bogus caller
- Bogus workmen will claim they need to enter your home to make urgent repairs or check something. They may also offer to carry out property maintenance, often asking for cash in advance without ever undertaking any work
- If you need work done at your home, get several written quotes from reputable firms before making a decision
- Never feel pressured to allow an unexpected caller access to your home. Call their company from the number in your telephone directory not the one on their business card. And remember, there is no such organisation as the ‘Water Board’
- Always ask for ID when someone claiming to be a workman wants to enter your property. A number of utility companies, including Severn Trent, also offer a ‘doorstep password’ scheme. You pick a password that you can ask for from anyone who says they work for the company. When a caller arrives, they’ll need to phone their head offices to get your password and verify they are legitimate. Sign up for the Severn Trent doorstep password scheme – contact your other utility providers by phone to find out what schemes they have.
- Share details of doorstep password schemes with elderly or vulnerable relatives and help them sign up.
- No matter what – if you are in doubt, don’t open the door.
If see further advice on bogus callers, visit our dedicated distraction burglary page.
Your garden and shed also need some consideration as the darker nights approach.
Garden tools and DIY equipment can be used by burglars to get into your house. Don't lend burglars a hand - put tools away and ensure outside sheds and store cupboards are securely locked when not in use.
We recommend you:
- Securely lock any chain tools, cycles, mowers, ladders and other valuables inside a shed or garage
- Bring tools inside if you do not have a shed or garage
- Mark your property with your postcode and house number - this makes stolen property easier to trace and it can be positively identified as yours
- Regularly check fences and gates are in good repair and check for any overgrown areas where someone could hide
- Selecta DNA offer a property marking kit for tools and equipment. You can get 50% off this forensic marking kit by signing up to our FREE WMNow alert service here https://www.wmnow.co.uk/ - the discount code can be found in your welcome email.