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There’s a warning to households in the West Midlands after figures show a huge spike in burglaries when the clocks go back an hour.

The number of burglaries in the West Midlands Police force area rockets when British Summer Time ends, according to two years of official crime figures analysed by home security experts www.smartinstall.com

With this Sunday 28th October marking the end of British Summer Time, the West Midlands based home security company discovered the number of home burglaries surged by 17 per cent in the five months after the clocks went back last year, and by 23 per cent the year before – compared with the five preceding months.

James from SmartInstall said:

“The end of British Summer Time plunges us immediately into darker evenings and longer nights.

“In recent years, this change has been accompanied by a rise in household theft by as much as 23 per cent across the West Midlands Police force area which includes Birmingham, Solihull, Wolverhampton and Coventry.

“People need to be even more vigilant when evenings are darker for longer as it gives burglars and opportunists that extra bit of cover. If your home has areas where someone can approach away from view – such as behind a tall hedge, you need to be even more cautious.”

West Midlands Police say that this is just the time of year when burglars become true opportunists.

Many burglars will earmark a row of houses or an area and check out the most vulnerable property. If they can see a weak spot and the road seems quiet, they may make an opportunistic move before anyone notices.

James added:

‘Whilst in a lot of cases it is simply a case of bad luck, there are things that home owners can do to deter thieves such as ensuring lights are left on when no one is at home and installing CCTV cameras, or at least dummy ones, to make burglars think twice.

“Unfortunately, we also see a huge increase in people contacting us unfortunately after their home has been targeted. The most important thing is to make sure your home is secure before it becomes a target.”

www.smartinstall.com, which has recently been nominated a Security and Fire Excellence Award, has compiled a top ten list of how to keep your home safe during the winter months.

TEN TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM BURGLARS

The below may seem like basic advice for many when it comes to preventing burglaries – but it is surprising how many households can miss some easy prevention measures:

1. Leave a light on when you are out or invest in a light timer.

2. Install exterior security lights at the front and back of your property.

3. If possible, invest in a CCTV system.

4. Do not post your location on social media sites.

5. Ensure doors and windows are locked.

6. Set your burglar alarm.

7. Ensure outbuildings and sheds are secured.

8. Do not leave valuables on display.

9. Never leave car keys within easy reach of a letterbox.