OFFICERS have seen an increase in people stealing from homes and vehicles through open windows or unlocked doors.

Dave Griffin, crime reduction officer for Huntingdonshire, said despite a decrease in overall crime, the force had identified a trend in people leaving their homes or vehicles unsecure and leaving valuables on show, tempting criminals.

He said: "This is great news and we all need to work hard to keep this up, but we have recently seen that a lot of reported offences may have been prevented had the victim thought about security around their homes, vehicles and cycles.

"There are many things we can do to secure our property but I would like to list a few things we can all do to reduce the chance of becoming a victim of one of these crimes, many of which have no cost implication at all."

In the home: -

- Close and lock all doors and windows even if you are at home and sitting in the garden, remove the keys but ensure easy access to them should they be required in an emergency

- Fit window restrictors to allow safer ventilation during the hot weather

- Use a door chain or bar before committing to answering your door

- Where possible deny access to the rear of your property by the use of high fencing, trellis and lockable gates

- Consider fitting security lighting, either PIR or low cost energy efficient dusk to dawn lights

- All desirable, expensive or sentimental items should be put out of sight, not visible from doors or windows. Consider property marking (see websites below)

- If you are going away make sure one of your family members or a good neighbour is aware and can keep an eye on your property

With your vehicle: -

- Shut and lock all doors - don't rely on the remote fob locking it check the handle to make sure.

- Remove all property from the vehicle do not leave it on show. Do not load the boot in a car park and then leave the car.

- Don't leave electrical items (sat-nav's, mobile phone including charging cables etc) in the centre consul or glove box

- Remove the sticker mark from a sat-nav holder from the windscreen.

- Park in well-lit areas where there are lots of people around or it is covered by CCTV

- Where possible remove tools and expensive items from vans - sign the van to advise that this is done

This advice includes where you park your vehicle on a private driveway or in a locked garage.

Cycles: -

- Always lock your cycle wherever you leave it - to designated cycle racks or other immovable objects that the cycle cannot be lifted over. (Do not just lock the frame to the wheel)

- Invest in the best lock(s) you can afford - for maximum protection use two locks of different types (a D-lock of good quality and a robust chain and padlock). Use each lock to catch wheels, frame and fixed object.

- Leave it in a well-lit public area, if possible where lots of people frequent or it is covered by CCTV

- At home - do not leave cycles unlocked in gardens or at the side of houses, even for a few seconds - that is all it takes to remove an insecure cycle.

- Lock cycles in sheds and garages, where possible to other items - if possible purchase either ground or wall anchors. Consider shed alarms.

- Keep them out of sight - consider net curtains on shed windows.

- Consider marking the cycle with a permanent mark (there will be marking events in each town - publicised separately)

For more security information you can visit either the Cambs Police website or one of the other sites listed below: -

www.cambs.police.uk

www.securebydesign.com

www.immobilise.com

Strong communities are also a deterrent against criminals - make friends with your neighbours and look out for each other - this is a peak holiday period so you should be more vigilant around yours and neighbours homes, report all suspicious activity. Make a note of descriptions and vehicle registration numbers.

Think about joining your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme. For more information about Neighbourhood Watch check the Cambs NHW website

To help catch the offenders committing these crimes please report any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood either by e-mail to huntscops@cambs.pnn.police.uk, call the non-emergency number 101 or to remain anonymous call crime-stoppers on 0800-555111.