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How to keep your home safe from burglars during winter months

PUBLISHED: 13:45 02 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:45 02 January 2014

Gravesend Police Chief Inspector, Phil Painter

Gravesend Police Chief Inspector, Phil Painter

Archant

Darker evenings and the lure of houses filled with expensive gifts can prove too much for some lighter fingered residents, which is why the winter months traditionally see a spike in burglary numbers.

Households across Gravesend are therefore being reminded to keep their houses and belongings safe this season by making life harder for thieves, especially when there are Christmas presents at stake!

Chief Inspector Alan Rogers, Kent Police district commander for Gravesend, said: “As Christmas gets closer, opportunistic thieves often keep an eye out for insecure buildings and cars. It takes seconds for a burglar to strike, so it is vital Gravesend residents take extra time to ensure their homes and vehicles are locked up properly.

“We know how exciting the festive season is and part of the fun is exchanging presents - but you should never leave valuable gifts on display because unfortunately, criminals sometimes see this as an open invitation. Keep your doors and windows locked, even if you’re home, and get valuable items security marked. Don’t make it easy for a thief to ruin your Christmas.”

Tips for keeping your home safe this winter

-Keep the lights on. This isn’t the usual environmentally or economically friendly advice, but a dark house advertises an empty house to burglars. Buy a timer switch or leave a light or television switched on so someone appears home.

-Keep presents out of sight or close the curtains so passing thieves aren’t tempted.

-Be careful how you dispose of your packaging, big cardboard boxes left outside tell potential thieves about your new television or games console. Take them to the dump or break them down.

-Bogus callers may use this time of year to confuse householders in the busy run up to Christmas. Check callers’ ID and don’t feel pressurised into signing up for anything you don’t really want to buy.

-Check the locks on your garden gates and sheds, use security lights and keep shrubbery pruned so there’s no where for would-be burglars to hide. Lock away all garden tools and ladders so they can’t be used by an opportunist burglar. Don’t leave children’s new bikes or large toys outside your house unattended.

Excessive drinking is also prevalent over the festive season, so Chief Insp Alan Rogers is also reminding residents not to drink and drive and not to get into unlicensed taxis.

He said: “We will have a visible police presence on patrol in Gravesend town centre throughout the festive season as this is when bars, clubs and restaurants get very busy. While we’ll be there to control anti-social behaviour, we would remind everybody of the importance of not driving drunk. Even the smallest drink of alcohol can affect your judgment, so if you’re planning on drinking at all, don’t drive. There are plenty of taxis available in town, so why not book one in advance?

“Anybody caught driving over the legal limit will be dealt with the full force of the law.”

Finally, cold, icy weather is on the way, so make sure your car is road worthy and prepared.

-Check the weather forecast and road conditions before you travel.

-Make sure you have enough petrol for your journey and carry warm waterproof clothing, food, water and a torch.

-In wet, foggy and icy weather, keep well back from the car in front, slow down and use appropriate lights.

-Make sure brakes and lights work, fluid levels are topped up and your windscreen is clear before you set off.

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