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Tactics to protect your property and yourself this Autumn

With Christmas party season and festive holidays fast approaching, Autumn is a time of year when many homes are left unoccupied and dark for lengthy parts of the day and night.

As a result, opportunistic burglaries are likely to increase, alongside antisocial behaviour, as people over-indulge in party spirit.

To combat this issue, the Safer North Hampshire community safety team is encouraging residents to follow a few self-help tips to look after their property this year:

• Ensure doors and windows are locked – net curtains or blinds can help to prevent burglars from seeing inside.
• Never leave valuables on display.
• Make homes look lived-in by using automatic timer switches to either switch on lights or turn the radio on.
• Consider installing a home CCTV system to protect your property.
• Lock side-gates and secure sheds with a good quality padlock, with fittings reinforced at the back with a steel plate. Consider replacing any existing door screws with ones that cannot be unscrewed once they are screwed in, and check that house insurance covers items in sheds, garages and outbuildings.
• Do not discuss holiday plans in front of strangers or post details on social networking sites in advance or while on holiday.  If possible, ask a trusted neighbour or a friend to keep an eye on the house and outbuildings.
• Property mark valuables with a UV pen, as well as registering them free on www.immobilise.com, including the make, model and photographs of items.

For those who are embracing the party season:

• Don’t leave a bag unattended – use table or bar-hooks.
• Never leave a drink unattended.
• Plan how to get home and avoid walking alone. Save a local licensed taxi number in your phone. Don’t use a taxi not displaying taxi-licence plates.
• Never drink so much alcohol that you endanger yourself.
• Don’t drink and drive. Make other arrangements if you may be over the limit the next day.

For more information, visit www.safernh.co.uk