With the longer evenings, a senior PSNI officer is urging householders to make sure they do all they can to protect their property.
Chief Superintendent Simon Walls wants home and business owners to take the necessary precautions to secure their home and belongings against opportunistic burglars and to be on guard for cold callers.
Chief Superintendent Walls said: “Make sure your home is secure. Lock all doors and windows. And this applies, not only to your house, but to any outbuildings, garages or sheds.
“Keep your valuables stored away safely, and never leave them where they can be seen through windows. Cold callers and fraudsters, whether it’s on the phone or on your doorstep, prey on the most vulnerable in our society, often older people.
“I’m asking friends and family of older or vulnerable people to talk to them about the issue of cold callers and make sure they know what to do when cold callers come to the door. Remember, it's your home and it's definitely ok not to open the door if you have any concerns. You can speak to the person through the door or window, without actually opening the door to them. Encourage them to join the nominated neighbour scheme. There are details on the PSNI website here.
“Some callers at your door will be genuine, but bogus callers use many guises. Someone could be trying to gain access to look around your property or charge you too much for bad or non-existent work. If you feel that something isn't quite right, it usually isn't.
“Report any activity that raises your suspicions to police and, if you need any further crime prevention advice, please speak to your local Policing Team Officer or your Crime Prevention Officer on 101.”
Additional advice on securing your home is available here.
Here are some tips on how to protect yourself from cold callers and how to protect your property:
1. Report suspicious persons or vehicles immediately.
2. Always check who is at the door. Genuine callers will carry identification. Not sure? Don’t open the door.
3. Close and lock all doors and windows, even if you are only going out for a few minutes.
4. Leave a light on if it will be dark before you get home. Consider security lights. To a burglar, a dark house is an empty house.
5. Keep your valuables out of sight.
6. Don’t leave car keys near your door, letterbox or windows.
7. Cancel milk or other deliveries if you will be away from home.
8. Set your alarm when going out. If you do not have an alarm, consider installing one.
9. Ask a neighbour or a friend to check your property and to remove post from the porch/hallway.
10. Always keep sheds and outbuildings locked and secure ladders.