Police have sounded a loud “lock up” alert to householders in Preston after burglaries soared to a five-year high.
Latest figures show almost 600 homes were broken into in the city in the three months up to the end of September – the highest total since the summer of 2009.
Officers say more than a third of those were attacks on premises which were left insecure, with either doors unlocked or windows open.
Supt Damian Darcy said: “We have seen a rise in domestic burglary and it is especially disappointing that over a third of all our burglaries involve insecure premises and we really need the public’s support in helping us to protect them.
“There are basic things people can do to keep their homes and property safe such as securing doors and windows, not leaving tools or ladders outside which burglars can use to break in to homes and by reporting anything suspicious to the police.”
The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show a fall in most types of crime in Preston and across the whole of Lancashire.
The county-wide total of all offences reported fell by more than 1,200 from 95,640 in the quarter ending June 30, 2014 to 94,418 in the three months to the end of September.
But the figure was still slightly up on the equivalent period in 2013. In Preston there were 11,058 crimes recorded, down from 11,316 and also down on the same quarter in the previous year
Domestic burglary showed the biggest increase from 527 to 581, with drugs and public order offences also up.
But there was a drop in criminal damage and arson, non-domestic burglary, possession of offensive weapons, sexual offences, shoplifting, vehicle offences and violence causing injury.
Rachel Baines, chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said: “It is really important we don’t get complacent.There are all sorts of stories behind every single crime figure and this does not paint a full and accurate picture of what is going on.
“It would be dangerous to look at the crime figures alone and think cuts to police budgets are not having an effect.”