Sergeant has some crime prevention tips

Sgt Paul Trimble. Picture: Jon Hewson d412194
Sgt Paul Trimble. Picture: Jon Hewson d412194

When putting up lights, packing for a holiday or throwing out wrapping paper, it can be easy to overlook the things that will make Christmas great for a less desirable section of society.

Peel Crime Prevention Unit Sgt Paul Trimble said residents had a habit of making things easier for burglars at Christmas time by becoming complacent about home safety.

One of the big culprits is the twinkling Christmas lights.

‘Burglars prefer to enter houses through unlocked doors and windows as it doesn’t make a noise, thereby reducing their chances of getting caught,’ he said.

‘They will look for houses where lights are on and extension cords have been used through gaps on unlocked doors and windows.’

Those of us heading off for a summer break should purchase an inexpensive light timer and ask our neighbours to pick up our mail, as burglars see lights burning 24/7 and piled up junk mail as signs a house is unoccupied.

‘If you go out for the evening, turn on lights and a radio or television so the house or unit appears to be occupied,’ Sgt Trimble said.

‘Don’t leave messages on your answering machine stating you are away for holidays as this lets the burglars know they have plenty of time to ransack and empty your house.’

Gifts are also a big target at Christmas, with thieves known to look through windows to spot presents under the tree.

Sgt Trimble suggests that trees be placed in a room away from windows or with effective vision-blocking blinds.

‘Once you’ve opened all your gifts, don’t leave the boxes on view outside to advertise your new gifts to criminals,’ he said.

‘They appreciate knowing that you have expensive gifts inside for them to steal. Break the boxes down or cut them up to conceal your new gifts.

‘If you are expecting a parcel, make sure someone is home when it arrives, or ask a neighbour to collect it until you get home to avoid it being left on the door step.’

Sgt Trimble encourages anyone who gets a mobile device this Christmas to download one of the find-my-phone apps that are available.

There are many apps that can be used to find all devices, which assist police in recovering property and arresting the offender.