Causeway Coast Glens police are working with the COAST organisation to encourage people, particularly older people, to take steps to improve their home security.
The work follows a number of burglaries across the Causeway Coast and Glens policing area, many involving older residents.
Community Planning Sergeant Terry McKenna said: “Experience tells us that up to 40% of break-ins are the result of unlocked or open doors and window so a good place to start in preventing burglary is to make sure your home is secure. Close and lock all windows and doors at night or when you are leaving your home, even if it is only for a short time. It can only take minutes for a burglar to spot an opportunity.
“Do not leave keys in the front or back doors, even if the doors are locked. Burglars have been known to simply break glass in the door, reach in and turn the key to gain entry. Give consideration to installing an intruder alarm and security lighting.
“Another good tip is to keep your valuables stored away safely and never leave them where they can be seen through windows. It also makes sense to mark your property with your postcode using an indelible marker. It means that should you fall victim to a burglar your items will be more difficult for them to sell on and the marking will also make it easier to identify your items if they are recovered.
“When you are out of the house you can give your property an ‘occupied’ look by making use of timer switches to turn on lamps that would normally be on if you were at home.
“Remember that your garage, shed or outbuildings also need protection, particularly if they contain expensive items like lawnmowers or power tools. Fit strong, closed shackle padlocks and ensure that doors are solid enough not to be kicked in. Never leave a garage or garden shed unlocked, especially if it has a connecting door to the house - a thief could get in and work on the inner door in privacy.
“Finally being a good neighbour can also help protect homes in your area. Report any suspicious people or vehicles and where possible make a note of vehicle registrations if you are concerned.
Jenna O’Hara is the manager of COAST, the local Older People’s Network and said: “We work closely with older people across the Causeway Coast and Glens and are keen to ensure older people feel safe in their homes and communities. We liaise with the PSNI and Crime Prevention Officers to help get messages around home security out to older people and put measures in place to ensure they are safe in their own homes.
“We want older people to engage and feel safe in their homes and local communities especially coming into the winter months.”
Further crime prevention advice is available on the PSNI website at http://www.psni.police.uk/crime-prevention.htm.
For further info on the work of COAST see www.facebook.com/coastnetwork or call 02827665068