Most burglaries tend to be opportunistic rather than planned. A burglar looks for an easy way into your home without being seen or caught. Help to protect your home by following our top tips.
1. Close and lock all of your doors and windows
When you are out of the house you should always lock your doors and windows, even if you are going out for a few minutes. You should keep doors and accessible windows locked even when you are in the house and when you get home. Try to change your habit and get used to locking your doors and windows.
2. Leave some lights on if it will be dark by the time you get home
Make your house look as though it is occupied even when you are not at home. Install timers to switch lights and maybe a radio on and off automatically. To a burglar, a dark house is an empty house. Attaching a timer to a lamp will make your home look occupied even when it isn’t.
3. High valuables out of view
Don’t put temptation in view of the burglar. Keep valuables hidden away so that they cannot be seen from outside your house through windows. Consider partly closing blinds / curtains and put portable items out of view.
4. Mark or etch your property
Mark your property using a UV marker. The marker will resist general wear and cleaning, however, try to mark your property in areas subject to the least amount of handling. Also remember that UV marks can degrade over time in direct sunlight therefore try to mark your property on the underside or the rear. Mark your property by writing your postcode followed by your house number/name.
Immobilise is a UK National Property register. Use this free service to register your property such as mobile phones, computers, bikes and anything else with a serial number.
6. Keep your keys safe
Never leave a spare key concealed anywhere near the front door, for example under a mat, flower pot / stone or dangling from a string behind the letterbox - burglars know all of the hiding places. Don’t store house/car keys just inside your front door to prevent letterbox burglaries. (Burglars could try to fish for the keys through the letterbox). Do not label your keys in case they fall into the wrong hands if lost.
7. Install a visible burglar alarm
Burglar alarms are a worthwhile investment in the protection of your home and family, and can enhance your home security. Alarm systems can generally be split into two categories:
Audible (bells only) alarm
Remote signalling alarms
When activated, audible alarms deter criminals from continuing any further and attract the attention of passers by and neighbours who may call the police. Remote signalling alarms will notify an activation to an alarm monitoring centre which will in turn notify the police.
For advice on burglar alarms and a list of approved installers in your area contact the National Security Inspectorate at www.nsi.org.uk
8. Doors and Windows
Secure doors and windows will greatly enhance the security of a property. However, the strongest doors and windows will be of no use if you do not lock them whenever necessary. A sound routine should be established to prevent a thief taking advantage of an open window or insecure door.
Before replacing locks, check the condition of the door or window. It may be better to invest in a good quality door or window instead.
If you need to replace a door, door frame or window, please check with the supplier that it complies with the British Standard PAS 24:2007 for security doors or British Standard 7950 for windows. Suppliers of these standards of doors and windows can be found at www.securedbydesign.com
All external doors should be fitted with a lock or locking mechanism which meets either British Standard 3621 or British Standard EN 1303 for cylinder locks. Seek advice from a specialist, such as a member of the Master Locksmiths Association.
Patio doors are potentially vulnerable. An anti-lift device should be installed to prevent sliding patio doors from being lifted out of their tracks. These are available at DIY stores, but a cheaper alternative may be to secure a piece of wood along the full length of the bottom or top track on the inside. Locks fitted to patio doors should also meet the standards highlighted previously.
Window locks are strongly recommended for ground floor windows and all other windows that are easily accessible from the ground.
If you don’t have a glass panel in the door or some other way to check who is calling, fit a door viewer (spy hole).