Easter is fast approaching and everyone is looking forward to the short break. Everyone wants to enjoy their time off and we do not want to see anyone fall victim to crime.

Crime Prevention and Early Intervention Chief Inspector Joanne Gibson is reminding homeowners to be conscious of their home security over the coming months. This is especially important if you are going on holiday or leaving your home overnight.

Householders can take sensible steps to protect their home and their belongings against thieves. In many instances of burglary, the criminal has gained entry to the property via an unlocked door or window. It is imperative that people take simple steps to protect their property. Please remember to close and lock windows and doors, including your garage, at night or when the house is unoccupied. Do not make it easy for the would-be burglar.

Chief Inspector Gibson explained: "Consideration should be given to installing a home security system or, where one is already fitted, ensuring it is primed at night time or when you are away from home. Security lighting around the perimeter of your property can also act as a deterrent.

"Remember to cancel any scheduled deliveries. It is also wise to ensure any valuables are kept out of sight. A safe is a wise investment for securing precious items such as jewellery, credit cards or financial documents. Don't leave keys in plain view or in a door lock. Do not advertise the fact that you are leaving home and please refrain from posting details of your holiday on social media sites.

“Ask a friend or neighbour to make regular checks of your home and lift your post or bring in your bin so that your house appears occupied.”

Vacant properties or homes that are under refurbishment can also be tempting for criminals. Thieves will make off with whatever they can get their hands on even if it means stripping the house of the copper piping or white goods. It is important for owners to make regular checks of properties and building sites.

Police officers will continue to address burglary and raise awareness of crime prevention, however the community can also play its part by looking out for neighbours, reviewing household security, making sure that doors and windows are locked and by reporting any suspicious activity immediately to police.

If you require any further crime prevention advice, please contact your local crime prevention officer on the 101 non-emergency number. You can also check the Police website at www.psni.police.uk.