POLICE are reminding homeowners to take steps to protect their property and reduce their risk of becoming a victim of crime in the run up to Christmas.
And they are also asking people to look out for vulnerable neighbours and relatives during the festive period.
Last weekend Derry homes were hit by a gang of travelling criminals.
Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “We as a police service will do everything in our power to tackle crime, however we also need the help of you, the community, to ensure that burglars do not get away with their crimes.
“With Christmas approaching we would remind people it is not a time of rest for criminals; they too are doing their Christmas shopping, looking to gain advantage at your expense.
“Don’t make it easy for them, stay alert to your surroundings and report anything suspicious to police immediately.
“When you get home, keep your presents safe.
“Everyone likes to see Christmas presents around a tree, but make sure that no one can see them from outside.
“It is important to ensure you always lock your doors and windows at night and when out to secure those high value items you may have at Christmas.
“We are encouraging everyone to report suspicious activity to us – no matter how insignificant it may seem, the report of a suspicious vehicle or people acting strangely in your neighbourhood can help us to prevent and detect crime.
“Domestic burglary has been and will remain a priority for us.
“Talk to your family and neighbours about the top ten tips and the simple measures you can take to make your home more secure.
“If you have an older relative or neighbour help them to keep their homes safe and talk to them about home security.”
Here are the Top Ten Tips to help remind people that they can take steps to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime.Top ten tips to stop the burglar:
1. Close and lock all doors and windows even if you are only going out for a few minutes.
2. 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.
3. Keep your valuables out of sight.
4. Cancel milk or other deliveries if you will be away from home.
5. Don’t leave car keys near your door, letterbox or windows.
6. Always check who is at the door. Not sure? Don’t open the door.
7. Set your alarm when going out and at night time. If you do not have an alarm consider installing one.
8. Ask a neighbour or a friend to check your property and to remove post from the porch/hallway.
9. Inform police if your house is to be vacant for any length of time.
10. Always keep sheds and outbuildings locked and secure ladders.
If you would like further advice on home security you can contact your local Crime Prevention Officer on the non-emergency 101.
Report any suspicious activity, no matter how trivial you may think it is to police, and If it is an emergency always ring ‘999’.
If you want to remain anonymous you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.