It’s early January, and the glitz, the glam, and the lights of the festive season have been returned to their boxes and have been put away for another year. Daily by 4 pm, the daylight is also put away – plunging the UK into darkness. For now, until we meet the light of the sun once again, welcome to the bowls of winter.
But, while we settle down with our cocoa and catch ourselves an early winter night, the cold streets outside play host to a selection of criminally thinking opportunistic individuals, who blanket themselves in the darkness, as we blanket ourselves in bed.
Recovering from the exhaustion of Christmas, and counting all our pounds from its expense, January is a difficult time of year for most. But for some unfortunate souls, it’s made even more difficult as they fall victim to a variety of common winter crimes.
Here are 5 common winter crimes, you might not have thought of.
1. Sneak- in- burglaries
As the evenings draw in early, often while we are still out and about, or working, our homes are left standing empty in the dark, providing a beacon of light for opportunistic criminals who may see a dark house as a chance to commit a burglary. But, even when we get home and turn on the lights, the chances of a criminal taking up a break-in opportunity does not lessen. Sneak-in-burglaries are when criminals sneak into the home via unlatched windows and unlocked doors, using the cover of darkness to mask their presence upon entry. These crimes are quick and often quiet, so the best way to protect against them is to install external floodlights, and /or external CCTV to stop and capture the would-be criminal in their tracks. Other methods of protection are to lock your doors and windows as soon as you get in, switch on a light in each room, and draw the curtains to hide the contents of your house and your whereabouts in it.
2. Bogus door-to-door Callers
In the depths of winter, it is common to have heating and boiler issues, but it is not common for your energy supplier or a “handyman” to stop by and check if you have them! In winter, there is a rise of bogus callers who knock on your house with the guise of wanting to help. Do not give them entry to your home, no matter the weather – if you didn’t request them, It’s not them.
3. Night Attacks
As mentioned, the nights are longer in winter and it gets while we are still out and about. Because of this, there is a rise in night attacks. Sex predators can take advantage of the dark corners of the streets and pry on unsuspecting passers-by. To protect against this, as best as you can, try and stick to well-lit paths, try to walk with a friend, or use public transport/ a taxi to get from A-B. Also, carry an alarm and keep your keys handy that can be used in self-defence if needed.
4. Anti-social behaviour
Long dark nights can have us all going stir crazy being stuck indoors, but in winter there is a rise in anti-social crime. The cover of darkness provides a perfect opportunity for some to cause mischief around the community, and while you can’t pro-actively protect yourself against unruly behaviour, you can deal with it straight away by calling the police on 101 (999 ONLY if it’s an emergency) and use CCTV/ external lights as a deterrent and to capture the behaviour as evidence.
5. Shed/Garage break in’s.
Much like the sneak-in-burglaries, garages and sheds are often targeted by opportunistic thief’s who will use the lack of light to mask their unlawful doings. The way to protect against this is to treat your garages and sheds like your home, keep the area well lit and in view of any CCTV cameras nearby. Keep the doors locked properly, and fix any weather damage, particularly to garden sheds, to retain the structural integrity of the building – which will make it harder for the criminal to gain access via any other way then the locked door.