Derbyshire residents are being urged to boost home security as nights get darker – following a spate of home burglaries.
Police say homeowners should make sure their homes look occupied as the darker nights draw in.
Over the past couple of weeks there have been reports of break-ins across the county.
"There can often be a seasonal rise as opportunist thieves take advantage of the dark nights to target homes," said a spokesperson for Derbyshire police.
In Dronfield, a laptop and handbag were stolen from a property on Fanshaw Road sometime overnight on Tuesday, October 13 after thieves gained entry via an insecure front door.
At around 9pm on Saturday, October 10, offenders got into a house on Thorn Close in Allestree through an insecure back patio door before making off with an Xbox console, games and jewellery items including two watches, a charm bracelet and a ring.
Sometime between 4am on Tuesday, October 6 and 9.15pm on Wednesday, October 7, offenders gained entry to a property on Overdale Drive in Glossop through a back window. They stole the keys to a 65 plate registered Audi A6 and then took the vehicle from property’s driveway.
Break-ins have also been reported on Carr Bank in Glossop and Green Lane in Hadfield in recent weeks.
Officers across Derbyshire are urging people to step up security and ensure their homes look occupied, especially at night time, in a bid to deter this type of crime.
Setting timer switches for lights, radios and televisions to come on at certain times;
Closing curtains at night time;
Keeping valuable items including computers, laptops and car keys out of view and ensuring they are kept away from easy access via doors, windows and letterboxes;
Ensuring doors, windows, garages and outbuildings are locked and properly secured;
Looking out for suspicious activity around neighbour’s properties and encouraging them to do the same for you;
Investing in gravel to use on footpaths and driveways leading to your property so you can hear if someone is approaching;
Using motion sensitive, infrared lighting outside your property so that lights come on to alert you if someone is close;
Marking valuable property with a UV pen so that if it is stolen and recovered by the police, it can be reunited with its rightful owner;
Remaining vigilant and reporting suspicious activity immediately to the police either on 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.