Protect your property urge police

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As the summer season arrives, police in Coleraine are advising householders to help protect against domestic burglary, by taking a few minutes each day to properly secure their property.

Summer months can prove an opportune time for burglars, with householders either away on holiday or spending more time in the garden, perhaps leaving their front door unlocked.

Crime Prevention officer Judith Lavery says: “Criminals are currently on the lookout for easy opportunities to steal high value items such as computers, cameras and games consoles.

“In almost 50% of all burglaries thieves gain access through unlocked doors and windows. It is therefore really important that people ensure their properties are secured.

“Burglary is a key priority for the Police in Coleraine. We know how distressing it is to have your home violated and so we have identified some straightforward steps householders can take to deter opportunistic thieves.

“Before you leave your home, or go to bed a night, close and lock your doors and windows. Consider fitting security lights or alarms. Where these are already in place, make sure they are working properly. Always lock garages and sheds and never leave keys in visible sight of thieves.

“Report all suspicious activity to police and ask your neighbours to keep an eye on your home and do the same for them.”

Judith adds: “Crime prevention doesn’t have to be expensive; indeed the first step of making sure that all the windows and doors are closed and properly locked, each time you leave your house-even if you’re just in the back garden costs nothing.

“If you are going on holiday, make sure that you cancel any regular deliveries such as milk or papers. If you have a glass front door, you may want to consider asking a relative or trusted friend to lift the mail so that it doesn’t gather in a pile, which indicates that you aren’t at home.

“Making use of timer switches is another inexpensive way to give your house that ‘lived-in’ look not only when you are away on holiday but every time you are out after dark. Remember to use the timer switches to turn lights on in rooms that would normally be occupied when at home.

“Think about who you discuss your holiday plans with. Do not post information on Facebook or other social networking sites which highlights the fact that you are not going to be at home for the next two weeks.”

Judith also advises householders to consider marking high value items:

“Looking after your belongings is what it is all about. For peace of mind you should consider photographing and insuring valuables. Keep a copy of the photos with the insurance papers. It is also a good idea to keep a note of serial numbers, and to indelibly mark your property in a way that makes it unique to you. This makes it more difficult for criminals to re-sell your possessions, and it also makes it easier to identify your property, in the event it is stolen and subsequently recovered.”

For further crime prevention advice on this or any other subject contact your local Police Station on 0845 600 8000.