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Don't let your home be a goldmine this Diwali

Diwali, the five-day Festival of Light, will be celebrated by many of Avon and Somerset’s communities this week. As people light up their homes in celebration, we remind them to be wary of burglars.

Thieves have targeted homes across the whole of the Avon and Somerset force area because they believe there is valuable jewellery or high-value gold inside.

Asian gold

On several occasions, witnesses have described how people have ‘canvassed’ the area in advance, offering services such as driveway cleaning or gardening, as a way of choosing a property to target.

Bristol Community Liaison Officer PC Keith Openshaw, QPM, said: “Diwali is a time of celebration, with people displaying lights in their windows, travelling across the city to visit family and friends or attending events, leaving homes empty after dark.  

"Unfortunately, burglars are aware of cultural traditions and they do not hold them sacred."

“Often they steal jewellery which has a very high sentimental value. Victims may feel as though they have lost part of their family history. This is why we are urging South Asian communities to take extra care and to report anything suspicious to us immediately.

“You are our eyes and ears on the ground and without your support, we cannot catch these heartless criminals who see your family heirlooms as a quick way to make some cash.”

To keep your home and belongings safe, follow these steps:

  • Be wary of advertising an empty house, by posting messages on Facebook social events
  • Make sure all doors and windows are closed and locked, if you're not in the room, before you go out and before you go to bed. Set the alarm if you have one
  • Always double-lock uPVC doors using the key as well as lifting the handle
  • Ideally keep jewellery with a secure storage company, as thieves have been known to steal whole safes. If you do use a safe make sure you invest in a good quality one (see www.soldsecure.com) that's professionally fitted and mounted to a solid wall or floor
  • Take photos of your valuables and write a short description of each one
  • Mark your jewellery with a forensic security liquid
  • Don’t keep large amounts of cash in your home. Store it in a bank, building society or post office account
  • Install burglar alarms and CCTV

IMPORTANT - If you suspect you are being burgled, call 999 straight away and wait in a safe place for help to arrive. Do not enter your property if there is a chance the suspect is still inside.

Tell us about any suspicious activity as it happens by calling 101, or let us know online. Remember to pass on vehicle details and descriptions. If you think a crime is underway, it's always 999.

For more information on how to protect your house from burglary see our advice page on securing your property.