Greater Manchester Police is warning residents to take extra care in securing their homes to prevent them falling victim to opportunistic burglars who target empty properties on New Year’s Eve.
Burglars take advantage of people letting their guard down in the holiday season and victims can return home from partying in the small hours to find that they have been burgled.
Officers say that burglary has reduced by more than five per cent in the 12 months to the end of November 2012 compared to the previous 12 months, equating to almost 900 fewer victims. However they point out that almost 80 homes were burgled in Greater Manchester over the New Year party season last year.
Residents can decrease their chances of falling prey to burglars by following simple advice that saves them having a traumatic New Year's Day.
Make sure you shut and lock all external doors and windows, activate your burglar alarm, and use lights, radios and timer switches to make your house look occupied.
It is also important to keep valuables out of sight from prying eyes and dispose of boxes that contained valuables received as Christmas presents by taking them to the tip. Leaving them outside your home is an advert to thieves of what might be inside your house.
If you are going away over the holidays ask a trusted neighbour to open and draw curtains, park on your drive and keep an eye on your home.
Chief Superintendent Tim Forber, Greater Manchester Police’s lead in the fight against burglars, robbers and thieves, said: “Burglars expect people to be more relaxed and less cautious during the holiday season, and take advantage of homes being unoccupied as people see in the New Year with friends and family.
“We will be visiting prolific offenders to warn them that we will be keeping a close eye on them and increasing overt and covert patrols in hotspot areas.
“Residents can play their part by following the advice given here to make sure they do not play host to any unwelcome visitors at this time of year.”