Warning over home security

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DON’T be tempted to leave doors and windows open as the weather warms up, Leigh folk are being warned.

Police are reminding residents that leaving doors and windows open can make life easy for would-be thieves.

Burglars will exploit open windows, often while householders are asleep upstairs or even when they are just in the back garden.

And taking a few simple precautions can reduce the chances of becoming a victim of a summer crime.

Wendy O’Neil, crime reduction adviser for GMP’s Wigan Division, said: “Burglary is, on the whole, an opportunist crime.

“A burglar will select their target because it offers them the best opportunity of carrying out the crime without being caught and with the fewest number of obstacles in the way.

“A determined burglar can get through the smallest of openings, so remember to lock all windows and doors when you leave your home or go to bed.

“A building that looks unoccupied and insecure is far more likely to be targeted than one which is properly secured.”

Police are encouraging people to fit and use good locks on downstairs and accessible windows. An accessible window is one that is relatively easy to climb into, such as one above a ground floor extension or porch, or next to a drainpipe.

Traditional sash windows can be secured by fitting two pairs of sash stops to the upper frame. The lower pair locks the window shut, but can be removed to allow a 4ins gap for ventilation; the upper pair prevents the window being opened further. Consider window restrictors for bedrooms and bathrooms.

Latest figures show that during April there were 87 burglaries across Wigan borough – this is 16 fewer than during the same month last year.

But the percentage of those where the house-breaker was helped by an unlocked door or open window went up from 27 per cent to 29.

More anti-burglary tips:

l Lock any gates around the outside of your house to reduce opportunist access;

l Lock away any ladders so that they are not available to a thief. Ladders allow easy access to upstairs windows;

l Untrimmed hedges or high fences in gardens can provide cover for criminals and prevent neighbours from keeping watch;

l Thieves may also see opportunities where there are visible signs that nobody is at home. These signs include: milk bottles or parcels left on the doorstep; newspapers and mail protruding through the letter box or visible through glazed front doors; unlit houses after dark and closed curtains during the day; and all windows shut in very hot weather;

l Make it look as though your house is occupied and don’t advertise your absence