The reminder comes as the dark nights set in as the clocks go back to ensure burglars don’t have an opportunity to commit crime under the cover of darkness.
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.”
The advice is part of the Darker Nights campaign, a joint venture between police, the fire service and South Tyneside Council.
Vera Baird QC, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, said:“Taking steps to help prevent opportunist thieves from taking our belongings is important and by doing this we can help our police officers tackle those intent on committing crime in our communities.”
Coun Moira Smith, the council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “Having your home burgled can be a devastating experience. With the dark nights closing in, I would urge householders to make it as difficult as possible for thieves by taking steps such as locking their doors.”