The Office for National Statistics (ONS) offers the depressing statistic that nine in every thousand people have already been victims of a break in. Burglaries are now running at over 500,000 a year in England and Wales.
Remarkably, some 75% of these attacks on your home gain access are via the front door and over half are still at night.
Given these facts, as a minimum to protect your home, the main door has to be secured and ideally alarmed.
To give you a chance to avoid becoming another depressing statistic at the ONS, here are our top tips for protecting your home.
DON'T WAIT TO PROTECT YOUR HOME
Take action now! Look at our home burglar alarms page.
Our core recommendation (no surprises here) is to benefit from the technology available and install a modern home burglar alarm (click on the link to read the facts about Wired vs. Wireless alarm systems) with sensors covering all likely areas. Ensure the bell box is visible and clean. This is the best deterrent.
In addition to this here are some other tips on how to secure your home:
Neighbours have ears and eyes. Make sure you know your neighbours and that they know who lives with you. Ideally give them your mobile number so they can call you if they hear or see something strange.
AVOID THE OBVIOUS
Time and again we make it too easy. For instance leaving keys under the mat or on a side table inside the door where they can be accessed with a long pole. If you wish to leave keys outside be more creative than under the pot next to the door. If at all possible use the neighbours.
DO THE OBVIOUS – LOCK UP
Use a strong mortice lock, latches can be prised open too easily. In addition insurance companies are now keen to ensure you use mortice locks and may even make that a condition of insurance.
Make sure you lock all the windows when you go out, including the upstairs ones. We know it’s stating the obvious but it’s too often forgotten.
Find out about the crime rate in the area and get advice from the local policing Safer Neighbourhood team, who will inspect your home and provide recommendations.
Don’t turn your sitting room into a burglars window display. If your ground floor rooms have valuables in view, draw the curtains when you are out and for small windows at ground level, consider reinforced glass or bars.
If you buy a new television or expensive packaged item, do not advertise the fact by leaving the box outside with the rubbish. Burglars are very alert and opportunistic. If they spot evidence of high value items they may come back for them.
Invest in lighting timers that automatically turn the lights on and off at preset times. These are a key defence mechanism as they create the impression that someone is inside. Site them in different parts of the house, front and back and set at different times.
If you have other accessible parts of the property, such as the garden shed, lock them up and make sure they are empty when you are away by storing the valuables in your home. Burglars love ladders, garden equipment and especially tools. Many of our customers extend their alarms wirelessly to include a sensor in the shed or garage. Some go as far as stand-alone garage alarms.
If you still get a doorstep milk delivery, cancel it when you are away. Do not order large parcels just before going away from the likes of Amazon if there is a danger the goods will be left outside. Ideally get the neighbours to empty any mail box or the Royal Mail will hold back your post for you.
TOO MUCH INFORMATION
Don’t announce you’re going away on holiday on a voice message, or through social media such as Facebook or Twitter. This is more than people need to know and gives a clear window when the house will be unoccupied.
Finally, half of break ins take place when people are at home. A scary thought. Ideally make sure you have a panic button close to hand as part of your intruder system and investigate any strange noises. At night use the part set facility on your alarm so that the ground floor is alarmed while you sleep safely upstairs. Ideally get a monitored alarm (read ‘Why Have a Monitored Alarm’ for more details) so that you are guaranteed a response in the event of an activation.