POLICE in Warwickshire are warning householders to be vigilant now the clocks have gone back.
As the dark evenings draw in following the end of British Summer Time last weekend, the opportunity for burglaries and road incidents increases, according to police.
With the dark nights drawing in residents across Warwickshire are being urged to leave a light on at home to make it look like someone is in.
Doors, windows and patio doors should also be kept closed and locked, as well as locking gates to the rear of properties.
Nationwide there is a trend for burglaries to increase as the dark evenings give burglars greater opportunities to commit crime without being seen.
Figures released recently show that in Warwickshire burglary decreased between April to September 2012 by 12.3% with 136 fewer homes burgled during the first six months (970 recorded incidents compared to 1,106 for the same period in 2011).
Warwickshire Police is currently involved in a campaign to further reduce all acquisitive crime, which includes house burglary and car crime, across the county, in order to ensure that criminals don’t take advantage of the darker evenings.
Detective Superintendent Graeme Pallister, Crime Manager for Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, said: “Most burglaries are carried out by opportunistic thieves, but a few simple precautions can significantly lower the risk of your home being burgled.
“A well-lit home gives the impression that someone is in, so householders should invest in timer switches to turn lights on while they are out.
“Low-energy or dusk to dawn sensor light bulbs are also a good idea.
“I would also recommend that homes have plenty of outside lighting as this will also deter burglars.
“Finally I would urge everyone to property mark their valuables using ultra violet markers, or using a property marking system such as SmartWater which contains individual codes so stolen items can be traced back to their rightful owners if you are unfortunate to be the victim of a burglary. Property marking systems are available from your local neighbourhood watch organiser.”
On the roads the dark evenings increase the dangers for motorists and pedestrians.
Pedestrians are being urged to think about their presence on the roads and wear high visibility clothing and reflective material and to always use pedestrian crossings where possible.
Cyclists should also wear light reflective clothing and ensure their bicycle lights, both front and rear, are in good working order.
Motorists need to make sure their vehicle is in a roadworthy condition and basic checks are undertaken to prepare for the coming winter months.
This includes making sure lights on vehicles are working at their best by checking they are in good working order and wipe them clean of road dust and dirt regularly.
Vicki Bristow, Communications Manager for the Safer Roads Partnership in Warwickshire and in West Mercia said, “Nationally road casualty rates increase with the arrival of darker nights and worsening weather conditions.
“These conditions affect all road users but especially children, the elderly, cyclists and motorcyclists. As the darker nights draw in it is important that all road users re-assess their journey and account for the darker evenings.
“We are advising everyone to check their vehicles and for pedestrians and cyclists to ensure they are visible to other road users.”