For most people the clocks going back and the sudden arrival of the dark nights provide nothing to celebrate. However, not everyone is sorry to see the arrival of autumn for the burglar this is a time of opportunity - the opportunity to break into your home.
For many of us making our way to work we do not consider what our house will look like while we are away. To anyone passing your home it will probably look just as it is -empty: and what a tempting prospect this is for the burglar.
After dark, the burglar can walk down a road and not worry that there will be someone at the house to raise the alarm. He just walks up the path, calls at the door and when he gets no response he nips round to the back of the house and later on you will come home to find you have become a crime statistic.
It is simple to avoid this; a hall light on a timer can make a home look occupied. It is uncanny how one hall light shining out changes the impression of whether or not someone is home. It is also a good idea to leave a radio on while you are out for the evening. If you are away for an extended period, ask a trusted neighbour to come in every so often to collect post and check that everything is in order.
There are other things you can do to dissuade a burglar from choosing your house as his target; don’t leave a spare key in an obvious place outside the house – the burglars know all the favourite hiding places; don’t leave keys near the letter box or on a window sill – it is easy for them to “go fishing” with a special rod poked through the letter box or a broken window. Don’t leave an upstairs window open.
I recently visited a family who had done everything they were told to do by the local Safer Neighbourhoods officers - secure front door, bins not left by the fence, windows shut, but they forgot about their garden shed. The thieves walked into the shed and found a good selection of house-breaking tools at their disposal! They used a sledge hammer and garden spade to prise open the back door and helped themselves.
That family won’t be making the same mistake again, but it is a shame that they had to learn from bitter experience. Burglars do not like to carry jemmies and lock picks as police have a nasty habit of arresting those they find carrying them. They would rather rely on you to provide the tools, so don’t make it easy for them!
So my message to you all is - check your security and think about what is the easiest way to get into your home. You can always get a crime prevention visit from your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team or you can check out our latest Burglary advice and QR codes for mobile phones at
PC Stewart Satchell, Crime Prevention Officer, Barnet Police