Distraction burglary is a growing menace. As the nights draw in and the clocks go back, burglaries tend to increase under the cover of darkness and stay at higher levels until the spring. Not all burglars break into darkened homes, though: some trick or con their way in. They're often alarmingly plausible and sometimes have success with older people - so if you have a relative, friend or neighbour living alone, there are certain things they should know.
Criminals involved in these scams can be very persuasive, pretending to be on official business from utility companies or the council to gain entry and steal from homes. They may claim to be tradesmen or workmen calling to carry out urgent repairs, or even a police officer.
If you know someone elderly or vulnerable, make sure they know about these simple steps to stay safer:
If you or someone you know has been a victim of burglary, Victim Support provides free and confidential support to victims and witnesses of crime and their families. You can find out more at www.victimsupport.org or call on 0845 30 30 900.
You can find our more information on general burglary crime prevention advice at www.met.police.uk/crimeprevention/burglary.htm