|With Christmas only a few days away police are reminding people to property mark gifts as many of us will be purchasing and receiving the latest electronic gadgets, computers, jewellery and must-have accessories.
Unfortunately having these items will provide thieves with the perfect incentive to commit burglaries.
A number of precautions can be taken to help protect your new gadgets and belongings from opportunistic burglars.
One of the best ways to do this is to mark your property by using an ultraviolet pen to mark your items with your postcode and the number of your house/flat.
Items can also be registered with Immobilise – an online tool where you can register items such as mobile phones and other items free of charge. Once an item has been registered, police officers can access the database to trace the owners of any property they may recover.
DI John Williams, said: “I know that phones and electronic devices will be highly popular as gifts this Christmas but they are also favourites of burglars. It is worth considering downloading tracker apps for devices like iPads, smartphones and laptops.
“These apps can be activated if the product is stolen, which can then help the police to track and locate the item. However, the public should be aware that some apps may charge a fee and others are free.
“Some of the tracker apps available include the BlackBerry Protect and the iPad/iPod Finder. Other apps are also available and can be used on a variety of phones, laptops and tablet devices.”
Items such as bicycles can also be registered with Bike Register – the UK’s leading online bicycle identification and registration initiative.
Other tips on how to secure your property:
Take pictures of all valuable items
Make a note of the make, model and serial numbers of your items. This will help the police to identify them if they’re stolen
If possible invest in motion sensor lighting to light up the approach to your house.
Dispose of gift packaging carefully. Make sure you only put your rubbish out just before the collection and do your best to fold boxes so they don’t advertise your new contents of your home to thieves. Ideally take the packaging to a recycling plant
Protect your identity and shred receipts and personal information.
Make sure your doors and windows are locked
Keep your curtains/blinds closed at night
Make your home looked lived in if you’re going away. Cancel milk and paper deliveries, use light timers to turn lights on and off, and ask neighbours or a family member to pick up your mail and open and close your curtains
Make sure your garage and sheds are locked securely. Any ladders that you leave outside are also secured against something so burglars can’t use them to access your house
Don’t hide keys under flowerpots or under doormats, as burglars know where to look.
Use a house alarm if you have one.