As the time of year when homes remain in darkness for longer swiftly approaches, police are warning homeowners about the risk of being burgled.
Darkened properties with no lights on become even more attractive to burglars as the clocks go back and the nights draw in.
In a bid to crack down on crime, the Metropolitan Police will deploy specialist teams to track down wanted burglary suspects, and carry out high visibility patrols in burglary hotspot areas.
Officers will also be targeting organised criminal groups who continue to prey on the elderly and vulnerable by pretending to be officials to gain access to their homes.
Superintendent Sean Wilson, the Met’s operational lead for burglary said: "Burglary remains an important issue for the Met due to its devastating impact on victims.
"All burglaries will have an initial investigation and the level of further investigation will depend upon the realistic chances of identifying a suspect.
"I would ask Londoners to take simple measures to protect their homes. Follow our 3 Step Protect advice by protecting your property both inside and out.
“Forensic officers are sent to burglary scenes where there are forensic opportunities so it’s important for victims to take steps to preserve evidence by calling police as soon as possible and ensuring that until officers arrive, the scene is - where possible - left undisturbed.
"This will improve our chances of identifying suspects."
In the current rolling 12-month period, there have been 73,851 burglary offences compared to 69,204 offences in the previous year, representing a 6.7% increase.
Supt Wilson added: "We have enhanced our service in many ways, including through ‘super cocooning’ to support victims, using key messages through local communication networks to alert residents to potential offenders in their neighbourhoods.
"Officers are also continuing to distribute MetTrace property marking kits in burglary hotspot areas and they are working in partnership with the local authorities to prevent habitual known offenders from reoffending.
"We are also working with other forces from across the country in a coordinated effort so that burglars will have nowhere to hide.
"By also targeting people who handle stolen goods, we are sending a clear message that anyone who benefits from burglary is implicated in a serious crime."
The Met’s Be Safe crime prevention campaign aims to motivate, empower and mobilise Londoners to take simple crime prevention steps to reduce their vulnerability to crime, whilst officers continue to disrupt and arrest criminals.
The Met Police '3 Step 'Protect' advice:
1. Protect your valuables
- Don’t advertise your goods. Always keep valuables like tablets and laptops out of sight from windows and store keys away from the letterbox.
- Help police identify your property if stolen by using a property marking kit and taking photos. The MPS is currently providing SmartWater kits as part of the MetTrace operation.
- Consider buying a safe or using other safe storage providers.
2. Safeguard your building
- Lock all windows and double lock doors when you go out, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
- Make your home look occupied: use timer lights when the nights get longer, and cancel deliveries if you’re going away.
- Make sure your locks are strong enough to keep burglars out.
3. Secure your outside
- Keep gates, sheds and garages locked and don’t leave tools lying around as they can be used to break in.
- Keep hedges at the front low and install outdoor lighting, so burglars have nowhere to hide.
- Install trellises and spiky plants to stop burglars from climbing over fences.
For more advice on how to keep your home safe, click here.
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