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PCC Vera Baird supports darker nights campaign

28th October 2016

Northumbria Police is warning homeowners in South Tyneside and Sunderland not to fall victim to burglars as the clocks go back and the nights draw in.

The advice forms part of the Darker Nights campaign – an annual initiative that sees community safety partners across Sunderland and South Tyneside join forces to keep communities safe during the darker nights. Once again, police are working in partnership with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and both Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council in the run up to Halloween and Bonfire Night.

And, as the clocks go back this weekend and the nights start to get dark even earlier, police want to make sure burglars don’t have an opportunity to commit crime under the cover of darkness.

Vera Baird QC, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said:“Taking steps to help prevent opportunist thieves from taking our belongings is important and by doing this we can help our local police officers tackle those intent on committing crime in our communities.”

Superintendent Sarah Pitt said: “Unfortunately, we are still hearing cases where a burglary has taken place after a front or back door was left unlocked and want to warn homeowners this is an open invitation to thieves. A burglar can easily sneak in to the house without causing a stir, particularly at this time of year when people tend to settle in one room for the evening, if they’ve left the back door unlocked a burglar can be in and out while they’re watching their favourite soap without them knowing.

“It only takes a few moments to lock the door and double check it is locked but it could help prevent a burglar getting into the house.”

Other steps homeowners can take to help deter burglars include:-

– Installing security lights. During the darker nights these can easily alert the homeowner to a potential trespasser.

– Fit a burglar alarm.

– Consider using lights on a timer, these can be timed to go on and off if you happen to be out.

Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “Having your home burgled can be a devastating experience so it makes sense to take precautions to prevent sneak thieves.

“With the dark nights closing in, I would urge all householders to make it as difficult as possible for thieves by taking simple steps such as simply locking their doors.”

Chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership and Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Harry Trueman said: “ Our annual ‘Darker Nights’ campaign is to help raise people’s awareness of the potential, increased risk of crime and anti-social behaviour at this time of year.

“Some might be to tempted to use cover of darkness to commit burglary or break-ins, but we can all take some simple  home security precautions  to remove that temptation and prevent that from happening.”