Apart from the standard ‘lock up before you leave’ and ‘ask your neighbour to collect your mail’ advice, below are our top tips to help secure your home against burglars:
- Hiding your keys in a clichéd place like under the doormat or in a pot plant really isn’t fooling anyone. Burglars will check these places first hoping for an easy entry, so give a key to a trusted neighbour or a friend that lives nearby instead, so you don’t keep them around your property.
- Are you going away for a few days? Beware, burglars are always on the lookout for homes that seem empty. Some of the tell-tale signs include it being perpetually dark and quiet inside. Either keep a light on, ask a trusted neighbour to keep a close watch, or get a house sitter to stay. Another handy tip is to ask a neighbour to park in your driveway every now and then whilst your away.
- An overgrown or messy yard sends out the signal that you’re a lazy homeowner. And crooks often think that this trait extends to your security measures, making you a prime target. So keep your gardens well-trimmed and maintained. It’s also best to make it harder for burglars to hide in your garden and use your trees as climbing aids, by keeping them trimmed back and maintained.
- Ensure every entrance point is secure and can be locked. Burglars won’t just check the front door and give up, they’ll check windows, the back and side doors as well.
- Consider installing security cameras, and make sure they’re easily visible. You can also set up a hidden camera to cover yourself in case the visible ones are vandalised.
- Motion sensor lighting is excellent at deterring potential thieves. If you’re inside, it gives you a warning, and will almost always deter a burglar when they turn on. Set up motion detectors and alarms at every potential entry point including windows and second floor windows.
- Burglars hate dogs – they provide an added obstacle and/or threat that many burglars won’t want to be bother with. If you don’t have a pet, a large dog bowl and a “Beware of the Dog” sign are good measures to take to scare someone off.
- Be vigilant and alert; beware of people posing as delivery or servicemen, as sometimes people use this as a cover to case your property. On the same note, if you have organised someone to come out, check to see if they are wearing the correct uniform, arrived on the specified time, and that they are driving the correct company vehicle before letting them in. If it is a door-knocker, always keep a locked security screen between the two of you, don’t offer up any information about yourself, and quickly establish what they want.
- Furthermore, children and young teens should not be allowed to open doors for people on their own, or be expected to supervise a repairman by themselves, as they are often too trusting and aren’t aware of the warning signs.
- If a repairman or serviceman asks to use your bathroom, either refuse or as soon as they leave your home check that your windows and entry points are still locked. Most hired personnel are genuine and honest workers, but it only takes that one dodgy person to take the opportunity to unlock your bathroom window for easy access later on.
- If you have an alarm system, ensure it is not visible from the outside, as you don’t want anyone seeing that you forgot to switch it on, or that it’s otherwise deactivated.
- Did you recently buy a new flatscreen TV? Do you remember what you did with the box it came in? If you left it sitting next to the recycling bin, you could be advertising to crooks the type valuable things you have inside. Make sure you keep packages covered, or inside until rubbish collection day.
- If you constantly post updates and hold countdowns to your upcoming holidays on your social media accounts, you could be unintentionally inviting burglars around as soon as you leave. Either make your accounts private and secure, or boast about the great time you had post-holiday.
- And last but not least, keep any tools and ladders stored away securely, to prevent crooks using them to break windows and gain access inside your home.
Remember that unfortunately it is up to you to take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings against intruders. So, don’t make it easy for burglars and give our tips a go to help secure your home and your peace of mind.