The city police have advised citizens who plan to go on extended holidays this festival season to inform their local station house officer (SHO) about the location of their residence and period of absence.

They said it would help them better organise patrolling of residential areas to prevent crime, chiefly house break-ins. The residents should also inform newspaper agents and those who deliver mail and milk about their absence.

Newspapers and mail left strewn on the portico were giveaway signs that the house was temporarily unoccupied. Residents should not reveal their travel plans and period of absence even on social networking websites.

The police said burglars were likely to exploit heavy police deployment at urban centres during Onam to break into unoccupied houses in outlying residential areas.

Hence, the Commissioner of Police has asked members of the police neighbourhood watch to join beat policemen to conduct night patrols in residential areas during the festival season.

It was incumbent on people to ensure that all doors and windows of their houses, particularly rear doors and those leading to the terrace, were well-secured before they left on holidays.

They should also be careful not to leave garden tools and ladders in the open in their house compound. They should close their water and power connections prior to the journey to prevent accidental fires and other disasters.

The police have warned shoppers not to leave valuables, including laptops, wallets, and mobile phones, in their vehicles in a manner that the articles can be seen from outside.

People should avoid wearing expensive jewellery when visiting crowded market places and festival venues. For police help, call 100, 1090, 2334100, 2331843, or 2554033.