Burglary Prevention & Home Security Tips

Crime prevention advice from the police is clear. Homes that have no security measures in place are as much as five times more likely to be burgled than those with security, according to information on POLICE.UK.

Even a simple security device can make a difference and basic measures can help. When the Metropolitan Police launched Operation Bumblebee it came with a warning for Londoners to follow some simple steps amied at preventing burglaries.

Advice included keeping doors and windows locked when leaving the hp,e. keeping valuable out of sight, and out of reach, and locking side gates.

It sounds basic and obvious, but many people forget to deploy these methods, either through being careless or assuming there is little risk. Let's be clear - leaving a front door unlocked is an open goal for burglars and puts both a home and its contents at huge risk.

Ignoring your home security - especially such lax front door security - puts you at risk of a burglary but can also put you at risk of invalidating your home insurance. Be aware that failing to keep doors and windows locked in the event of a burglary may result in your insurer refusing to meet your claim and deem your policy invalid.

Preventing burglary is never guaranteed but there are simple ways to burglar proof your house. Follow these tips, all of which are easy ways to protect your home.


Contents:


Secure Doors

First things first, make sure that your entrances have suitable locks on them. For example:

  • If a wooden door, a five lever mortice deadlock, or
  • a cylinder rim deadlatch with a key-locking handle on the inside, or
  • any lock approved to the British Standard BS3621 or
  • If a PVCu (plastic) door, a multi-point lock

This includes windows, doors and garden gates. In many burglaries, intruders can break into the house through the door by forcing the lock so make sure that it is strong and secure. A gate which looks less than secure is one of the things thieves look for in a target property.

It’s advisable that you fix a deadlock to doors and key-operated locks to windows and remember to double lock UPVC doors.

If you don’t want to cover the costs of replacing your entire front door, perhaps consider a security bar instead. It’s best to contact a locksmith to find the best option. Similarly if you have glass panels in your door, you could replace it with laminated glass that is stronger. 


Security lighting and alarms

If your home isn’t fitted with security devices such as outdoor lighting or alarms for preventing burglary, you may want to consider getting them installed. 

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting doesn’t just act as a deterrent; you’ll find it very useful for getting around in the dark. You can either opt for lighting that is set off by movement or you can install a low-level light that automatically switches on in the evening and switches off at dawn. 

Alarms

If you’re considering having a burglar alarm fitted, look for companies with National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or Security Systems & Alarms Inspection Boards (SSAIB) approval. Both are audited against British and European Standards for system design, installation, monitoring and maintenance.

If you’re going to the effort of installing a burglar alarm, make sure it’s fitted somewhere that’s visible to an outsider. An alarm displayed prominently on the front of a property, which can be seen from the street, can be very effective in preventing your home being an easy target.


Security while you’re on holiday

How do burglars pick a house? Without a doubt, one of the common mistakes that attracts thieves is advertising the fact that you're away on holiday for a week or two.

Social Media Security

Posting images onto social media while on holiday increases the risk that your home will be broken into and is among the biggest mistakes that attracts thieves. Be mindful what you post while you’re away or make sure your privacy settings are up to scratch. 

Install timers on lights

Before you go away it's important to prepare your home. Something as simple as installing timers on lights can help in making your home theft-proof. You can set interior lights to come on in a couple of rooms - the living room and a bedroom, for example - during the night to make it look like someone is at home. 

Inform the neighbours

You could also ask your neighbours if they can put your bins out for you and park in your driveway occasionally just so that outsiders know someone is looking out for you. Leaving bins out a week in advance of collection makes it clear you're probably not at home and that's what burglars look for.

Join the Neighbourhood Watch scheme

If your village or town has a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, make sure you sign up. It’s believed that for every 100 crimes, more than a quarter were prevented by Neighbourhood Watch schemes across the UK, Canada and the USA. Being in a residential area with watchful neighbours can assist in preventing your home being an easy target.


Secure Gardens

If you have a garden this is part of your home and therefore also needs to be protected. 

Fencing

Fencing bordering the garden should be sturdy and secure - any gaps can be exploited and may allow an intruder easy access. If any fence panels have been damaged or need repairing, make sure this has been done. You want to make the garden difficult to get into.

Likewise, garden gates should be in a good condition and fitted with a lock - ideally a padlock for added security.

Garages and Sheds

Outbuildings such as garages and sheds must be kept secure. Items like bicycles, which may be stored inside, can be an easy steal for burglars.

Tools and equipment usually kept in the garage or shed should be returned there after use and stored there. A common mistake is leaving out items which can actually give burglars a way into your home. For instance, leaving a ladder out after a day's gardening might give a burglar easy access to a bedroom window. 


Distraction Burglary

Burglars and thieves will target a home where they know that the residents are more vulnerable, such as the elderly. Being aware of such tactics and understanding what attracts thieves can go a long way to preventing burglary.

Warning signs to look out for include strangers knocking at the door. These might be bogus callers pretending to be approaching you as a representative of a company - always check for identification. If the caller doesn't have genuine identification, don't give them your time.

The police recommend that if you don’t know who is at your door, don’t open it. 


Coping with a Burglary

The emotional impact of a burglary can be significant, from feeling guilty for not having done more to protect your family in the first place to serious psychological illnesses such as depression, anxiety and insomnia.

If your home has been broken into, you can contact Victim Support for help and reassurance once you have contacted the police and had your home searched for evidence.

You should get your home secured as soon as you can after a burglary. Sadly, there's no rule that prevents a house from being burgled more than once and thieves often return to strike again.

Preventing a burglary sometimes cannot be avoided but implementing easy ways to protect your home can certainly help to stay safe. If the worst should happen, at least ensure you can replace lost possessions by having comprehensive home insurance in place

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