Keep burglars locked out during the summer holidays

21 July 2014

Make it one to avoid, Secure your home from burglars.

Don’t make your home an easy target for burglars - that’s the message from the Metropolitan Police to south London residents and home-owners ahead of the summer holiday period.

Police in south London are advising residents to keep their homes secure, whether they’re in or out, to help avoid becoming a victim of burglary.

"burglars will look for easy targets"

Officers from Safer Neighbourhoods Teams across the boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark will be looking out for vulnerable homes over the next few weeks, when, traditionally, there is a rise in the number of burglaries at insecure premises, where burglars have broken in through unlocked or open doors and windows.

Burglars are operating both during the daytime and overnight and several homes with UPVC doors that have not been fully locked are also being targeted by thieves using tools and levers to open the doors through the letterbox. With the hot weather, thieves are also looking for open windows to get easy access into residents’ homes.

Overall, residential burglary across London has fallen by 11.4% over the past 12 months compared to the previous year, but police are keen to remind residents that they have a part to play in continuing this downward trend.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Baxter, who leads one of the burglary squads in south London said:

“As many people prepare to head off on their summer holidays, we want to remind them to keep their homes secure, as there is nothing worse than returning from holiday to find your house has been burgled.

Burglars will look for easy targets, so it doesn't take a lot of effort to make your home less attractive to thieves. Simple steps like keeping doors and windows locked and having a light on a timer switch can go a long way to deterring burglars.

This also applies to those staying at home as well. Many burglaries happen when people are at home during the day, with thieves only taking a few seconds to nip in through open and unlocked doors to steal valuables like phones, tablets and even car keys to steal cars parked on driveways.

People with UPVC doors are particularly vulnerable to this as they often shut the door and pull the handle up, believing the door is secure. However, thieves can use a simple lever through the letterbox to open the door from the inside, so we'd urge people to lock their doors with a key, whether they are at home or out and about."

Police are issuing their top tips to help residents avoid getting burgled over the summer:

  • Mark or etch your property with your postcode, house or flat number or the first three letters of your house name.
  • Register items with a serial number at: www.immobilise.com
  • Do not leave your car keys or ID documents near doors, letterbox or windows.
  • Always check who’s at the door and don’t open it if you feel anxious.
  • Close and lock all your doors and windows, even if you are only going out for a few minutes.
  • Keep your valuables out of sight.
  • Leave some lights on if it will be dark before you get home.
  • Install a visible burglar alarm.
  • Always keep sheds and outbuildings locked.
  • Cancel milk or other deliveries if you will be away for days or weeks at a time

If you see anyone acting suspiciously in your area, call 999.

For more information and crime prevention advice on home security, visit the crime prevention pages on this website (link on right of page).