A huge drop in burglaries has taken place in Cambridgeshire since the lock-down started - but detectives are urging householders not to get complacent as the nights draw in.
Police found a 15 per cent fall in domestic burglaries between October last year and March this year with 1,451 reports of offences compared with the same period in 2018-99 when there were 1,711 break-ins.
But the figure dropped by a huge 43 per cent between April and September this year when 825 burglaries were reported, down from 1,451, coinciding with the lock-down and more people being at home.
Detective Sergeant Ashley Ryan, from the force’s southern burglary team, said: “While it’s great news to see the number of residential burglaries falling it’s important to take the national lock-down into account.
“Most burglaries are a result of a thief spotting an opportunity and I’m urging the public to take some simple steps to reduce the likelihood of them becoming a victim.”
Det Sgt Ryan said: “While we are working hard to target burglars and bring them to justice, seemingly empty homes, poor security and the cover of darkness is all the invitation a thief needs.”
He added:“Tackling burglary is a priority for the force and while my team work tirelessly day-in-day-out, it’s just as much about prevention than anything else.
“When someone breaks into your home it can often leave you feeling unsafe in the place you should feel safest. I’m urging the public not to rest on their laurels and to check their home security.”
The force starts to see a rise in burglaries as the nights start to get longer with 1,320 being reported to police during April and September 2019, 23 per cent fewer than the six months before at 1,711, and nine per cent lower than the following six months at 1,451.
Now the clocks have gone back and the evening are darker, police advised the installation of lighting, used together with timer switches or motion sensors, keeping valuables hidden and entry points secure.
They suggested closing blinds or curtains at night, not leaving spare keys hidden outside, marking valuables, not leaving car keys near the front door or anywhere easy to find, installing driveway and burglar alarms and keeping ladders and tools stored away.
More burglary prevention advice is available online.