Video shows that unlit homes are ‘easy targets’ for burglars

Police patrol in Harold Wood

Police patrol in Harold Wood - Credit: Archant

Homes left in darkness no cars in the driveway are an invitation for burglars as the nights continue to draw in.

That’s the message from Havering Police’s Sgt Charlie Routley, who has turned to social media to help Havering’s residents avoid becoming victims of burglary.

Sgt Routley used video app Periscope to record a patrol in Harold Wood, offering an insight into a burglar’s view of a residential street.

He said: “We’re looking at different ways to get the message out there. We’ve been reliant on email or leaflets and people are not paying attention, we need something different. We need to think outside of the box.

“We can put hundreds of leaflets through doors and people look at them and say whatever but when you see it on a video it’s really obvious.”

Sgt Routley’s video shows him and a colleague walking down a residential street at 5.50pm. The road is in darkness and as the camera pans round it shows a home with no lights on, demonstrating how it clear would be to a potential burglar that the property is empty.

Sgt Routley says: “It sort of stands out doesn’t it – an easy target.”

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Police see a seasonal shift in burglary patterns after the clocks go back and Sgt Routley said that homes are often targeted between 4pm and 8pm under cover of darkness.

His advice to homeowners is to purchase timer switches and programme lights to come on as darkness falls, something he said was particularly effective if lights on different floors come on at different times.

He also suggested leaving a radio on and stressed that homeowners should ensure that all doors and windows are securely fastened. Sgt Routley’s video has been viewed more than 300 times, and he said he would continue to look for innovative ways to spread burglary avoidance advice.