Thames Valley Police issue burglary prevention tips in the run-up to Christmas

As nights draw in and Christmas gets closer, it is important for everyone to protect their house so they're not an attractive target for burglars.

A Thames Valley Police statement said: "We know that the period following the clocks going back and in the run up to Christmas often sees the number of burglaries start to rise.

"We will of course be out on patrol, targeting offenders and locations across the Thames Valley, only with Covid restrictions in place some of our traditional crime prevention outreach work has not been possible.

"Burglary is significantly down on previous reported levels, but we must not be complacent. These figures will no doubt have been impacted by the stringent lockdown measures that have been in force earlier in the year and most recently through the month of November.

"You can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of burglary by taking a few simple steps."

If you’re getting items delivered please make sure you:

- Track your parcels and make sure items are delivered when you are at home to receive them, or have them delivered to a trusted alternative address.

- Cut up packaging for any expensive items so that it will fit inside your refuse bin, never leave boxes next to the bin where they can be seen.

Thames Valley Police have offered burglary prevention tips in the run-up to the Christmas holiday season (image from TVP)

- Install a video doorbell; this can be connected to your mobile so you are notified immediately of any delivery, and is easier to install than a full CCTV system

- Install a security light

- Use an off-site locker service for frequent deliveries, or for expensive items; these parcel boxes are more likely to be in busy, safer locations - such as supermarkets - rather than secluded areas which could be targeted by thieves.

- Remove any address labels as they can give away what you’ve had delivered as well as increase the chances of you becoming a victim of identity fraud.

As many people are likely to be celebrating at home this Christmas see the following prevention tips:

- Don’t leave presents on view under the Christmas tree.

- Cut up packaging for any expensive gifts so that it will fit inside your refuse bin, never leave boxes next to the bin where they can be seen.

- Refrain from posting photos of high value presents, such as jewellery or electronics, on social media.

- Remember to mark your new presents using a UV pen and register them on the national property register at immobilise.com.

Keyless car theft:

Police are also seeing high value vehicles are being targeted by 'villains' who use technology to lock on to the frequency emitted by a car’s remote locking key fob and use that to ‘fool’ the car in to thinking that it is being unlocked legitimately.

- You can reduce the effectiveness of this tactic by ensuring that your keys are kept well away from doors or windows or by purchasing a ‘signal blocking’ pouch or box which will interrupt the capture of the frequency.

Detective Superintendent Ailsa Kent, the force lead for burglary said: “As Christmas draws ever closer and much of our shopping is done online, it’s more important than ever to be protecting you home and belongings from burglars.

“Please make sure items are delivered when you are at home to receive them, or have them delivered to a trusted alternative address. Also be sure to cut up packaging, especially for any expensive items, so that it will fit inside your refuse bin - never leave boxes next to the bin where they can be seen.

“Remember, if you leave your purchases and gifts on display or you’re sharing photos of them on social media, potential burglars can also see these. Don’t give burglars a sneak preview of your gifts this Christmas.”