Steps and procedures to adhere to in order to help secure your home from burglars; includes lock security, keeping valuables hidden and investing in alarms.
Do the best you can to deter unwanted visitors and keep your belongings
You may not be able to 100% burglar proof your home, but for many householders there’s much more they could do to avoid becoming a crime statistic.
It’s not always necessary for involved and expensive deterrents either; simple things like ensuring doors are locked at all times and not leaving valuables on display through a downstairs window can significantly help reduce the chances of an unwanted visitor.
The changing priorities of burglars
Overall house burglaries are down according to the latest statistics with around 2% of the UK’s 25 million homes broken into, but that still leaves some half a million households victims of this type of crime each year and unfortunately a very low percentage of thefts result in a prosecution.
The image of the burglar leaving a house with heavy goods in tow isn’t accurate these days; while easily portable valuables such as jewellery are popular, a thief may be interested in items such as your laptop – not so much for the machine itself but for the sensitive data about you it may contain.
The same applies to paperwork; with identity fraud and cloning on the rise a handful of innocuous papers on your study desk may be all a thief needs. Far from spending several minutes searching for high value items, a thief may only need a couple of minutes in your home to grab some paperwork and documents.
Factor in the fact that some thieves can break into a seemingly well protected house in a matter of seconds, and a burglary that proves highly disruptive to you could be complete in just a few minutes.
Reducing the risk
Much of what you do to protect your home from a thief is a deterrent; unless they’re intent on stealing something specific from you, a well protected home and adherence to basic security principles such as not leaving doors unlocked will often cause the would-be thief to move on.
Attend to the basics
Doors and locks – many break ins are through front doors – over 30% according to some sources – so ensure yours has a modern and efficient lock and use it at all times. A deadlock is worth fitting as it will deter many thieves from even trying to break in.
Experienced and eagle eyed thieves can spot if you don’t adhere to proper lock security such as double locking, and whether your lock is a modern type of older one that can be easily forced.
Ensure rear door locks are also secure and ground floor windows have locks fitted. Talk to experienced professionals about having the latest in door locks fitted such as this locksmith in Essex.
It’s worth fitting a spy hole and security chain to safely identify visitors before opening up, and a letterbox guard is worthwhile to stop thieves using wire to hook items such as keys through from the outside.
Ideally keep keys away from doors and don’t label them; thieves could spot a key rack through a downstairs window and know exactly which key is for what.
Basic practices – don’t leave valuables on view or in an easily accessible place. Valuable jewellery and the like could mean buying a safe is a worthwhile investment.
Even situating wall calendars where they can be read easily through an outside window can be risky; the potential thief could spot that you’ve blocked off a couple of weeks for your holiday so they know you won’t be around.
Tidiness – keep the garden neat and tidy; overhanging branches and tall bushes can conceal a thief’s activities, and unkempt grass can signify you’re away.
Don’t leave tools lying around or in an easy to access place; thieves tend not to carry a bag full of break in tools – they’ll look for something they can use at the property itself. Anything will do; an old car wheel brace or even length of metal might present an opportunity.
IT security – ensure laptops are hidden away. Remember, even a beaten up old laptop worth little may be a treasure trove for the thief for the data it contains about you.
Ensure you back up your computers regularly; if the worst happens at least you’ll have up to date copies of everything.
Extra security – installing cameras, motion activated lighting and burglar alarms are the next step up and, while some investment is required, they do act as a significant deterrent.
If you do install a burglar alarm do use it; an experienced thief can tell if an alarm is used frequently or not by its appearance.
Use of social media – be careful what you divulge on social media; announcing you’ve just bought your coveted Rolex watch or are currently on a dream trip in Australia may attract attention of the wrong kind.
Neighbourhood Watch – join yours if there is one or, if not, why not set it up for your area?
Many burglaries could be nipped in the bud with more basic prevention; often it’s a matter of being vigilant such as ensuring locks are used at all times and being wary.