A senior councillor reminded the public to be particularly vigilant over the autumn and winter months.

Cllr Krishna Suresh, responsible for crime and community cohesion at Harrow Council, said it was important to take extra care as the days get shorter.

The council launched its ‘autumn nights’ programme, in collaboration with local police, which offers advice about staying safe in the run-up to the New Year.

It includes protecting valuables and safeguarding homes as, statistically, crime levels rise during this period.

Cllr Suresh said: “The council and police recognise this can be a frightful time of year for older and vulnerable people who may not feel comfortable opening their door or being home alone in the dead of night.

“Many people are also worried about the misuse of fireworks – which obviously causes lasting effects. We want everyone to keep their eyes open, look out for each other and behave sensibly.”

The council plans to step up investigations into the illegal sale of fireworks and alcohol and the police have scheduled more on-street patrols in the borough.

Inspector Tanya Sprunks, responsible for Harrow Neighbourhoods, reminded people to keep valuables locked away, doors and windows locked, and take extra precautions – such as brightening your home – to deter criminals.