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Despite an overall drop in UK crime rates, figures for burglary have remained fairly static for the last few years according to the Office for National Statistics, with the majority being committed by casual, rather than professional burglars. We all need to look more closely at home security and investing some time and money will pay off in the long run.

Look through their eyes

The experience of being burgled can be extremely traumatic, as can the loss of long-loved irreplaceable items.  Look at your home through the eyes of an opportunist burglar.  Is there an easy way in?  Can you spot expensive items inside?  In short – do you fancy your chances?  Because if you do, you can bet that a burglar will.  Most burglars gain access through doors and windows – how hard are yours to breach?  Do you ever leave them unlocked if you’re “just popping out for five minutes”?  Most burglaries occur at night – does your home have a working security light?  It’s time to give your home a security review, and address any weak spots.

Doors and Windows

  • Expensive burglar alarm systems will be worthless if the burglar can just stroll in through an unlocked door, and professional thieves can wriggle through surprisingly small openings.  It sounds obvious but, whenever you are away, even if only for a short time, keep your property fully locked.
  • Locks:  When you move into a new home you have no way of knowing who else holds a key to your property – get the locks changed as soon as possible.  The recommendation is to fit a deadlock to all external doors.  The kind of lockable double-glazed upvc windows that are standard in newer houses are excellent, just remember to lock them!

Outside

  • Security lights:  Not only are they handy when you’re fumbling for front door keys in the dark, but outside security lights are a useful deterrent to potential burglars.  However, take care that they don’t distract traffic or shine into neighbouring properties.  The most energy-efficient and user-friendly types are those with movement sensors, which can be bought cheaply at large supermarkets.  Don’t just focus security lighting on the front of your house – burglars frequently access properties from the back, which brings us to:
  • Fencing/walls:  A falling-apart garden fence or wall is an open invitation to the most casual of thieves, so keep it well maintained.  Life for thieves can be complicated with the addition of a trellis or holly hedge, but don’t be tempted to affix, for example, barbed wire to your wall – you could be held liable for any injuries the potential thief acquires!    Howeber, a fence obscuring the front of your house is not recommended by security advisers, as it can hide intruders from the street – visibility is a better deterrent.  You might also consider cutting back any trees or shrubs on your property which could act as cover.
  • Garages/sheds:  Ensure these are well secured with strong padlocks – they’re a double temptation for thieves, not only for the valuable items contained within but also for equipment such as ladders that could then be used to break into your home.

Home security

Inside

  • It’s astonishing how many high-value items such as the latest TVs are clearly visible from the street.  Rearrange your room if this is the case!
  • The police recommend indelibly marking valuables with, for example, your house number and post code, making them harder for thieves to sell and giving you a better chance of one day getting them back.
  • Home contents insurance is a no-brainer, but read through the small print to make sure you know exactly what’s covered.  Some insurers will offer you reduced premiums if you can prove good home security, such as quality locks and alarms.  Which brings us to:

Alarm Systems

  • The jury’s out on whether displaying a visible alarm system is a deterrent or an attraction for burglars.  It announces that there is something here worth stealing, which will tempt a professional burglar, but chances are it will deter the more opportunistic thief so on balance it’s probably worth doing.
  • The more expensive alarms connect to receiving centres which carry out verification checks, and contact the keyholder and ultimately, the police.  You’ll need to pay a monthly fee for this on top of the original installation which can cost from £500 up to £1000.  Between £50 and £100 will buy you an install-it-yourself sound-only alarm with movement sensors – however it’s worth knowing that the police only tend to respond to these if they’re accompanied by reports of suspicious activity.  Even the more expensive alarms, if triggered accidentally too often, can lead to your property being “blacklisted” by the police.
  • Or you can always buy an empty alarm box to display on your home for under £10.  Accompanied by a loud and excitable family dog this may be all the deterrent you need, so long as you’ve followed the tips above!

 

 

 

 

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About Phylly Alexander

About Phylly Alexander

Phylly Alexander is a working parent. She’s been doing it for a long time, with number one son just about to turn 21, and by the time the last child (hopefully!) flies the nest she will have been at it for around 30 years! Apart from the first six years at home with aforementioned number one son, she has worked throughout, mainly in secretarial/admin roles for employers including solicitors, the Employment Service and, for the past 12 years, the NHS. She trained as a student midwife and has written for The Practising Midwife. A middle-aged “techie” she is hoping to improve her work-life balance by getting more internet work she can do from home – she enjoys writing, editing and proofreading. As someone who is interested in (and unfortunately has an opinion on) almost everything, she has a wide-ranging general knowledge – an asset for pub quiz nights. More specific interests include cycling, running, midwifery and Shakespeare! She is also currently completing an unfinished degree via the Open University and is finding the study of sociology a real eye-opener. The job that got away? Teaching. Age (aka tiredness!) and family commitments probably mean she’ll never get to do it now but…. she thinks she would have loved it.

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