How to protect your home from burglary

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Leaving your home, particularly for more than a couple of days, can make you feel very insecure. An uninhabited home, or one that appears to be, is very likely to catch someone’s attention – this is fine if it happens to be a neighbour or innocent passer-by, but if it is a potential burglar, then you could be at risk of a break-in. Here are some ways to ensure that your home is as protected as possible.

Leave a light on

A dark house with open curtains is a sure sign that no-one is home. Leave a light on, even if it is only in the hall or landing. If possible, buy a timer for your living room lamp. This won’t fool anyone who looks closely, but it might just be enough to frighten off a potential burglar. Even better is a security light that is triggered by movement.

Set up a security system

A burglar alarm can be expensive, especially if you have a number of entrances. However, it is worth considering, particularly if you live in an area prone to burglary or have a lot of valuables. Make sure that you have a reliable system though – those with motion sensors can detect the slightest movement, which, if not caused by a neighbour, can be a real neighbourhood nuisance.

Get a dog

A dog can be a great deterrent to burglars. Even if you have put your dog in kennels while you are away on holiday, just the fact that you have a dog at all can turn your home into a no-go zone. And whether you have a dog or not, stick up a ‘beware of the dog’ sign – again, it won’t fool everyone, but it may just be enough to put off a casual burglar.

Check doors and windows

Never leave the house without checking all doors are locked and windows are shut, if not locked. You may think that the tiny window at the top of the house couldn’t possibly be large enough for anyone to get through, but it is amazing what burglars can do. Check and double check, so that you have peace of mind.

Don’t leave valuable items in sight

Even if you are only out for a few hours, don’t leave any valuables out that can be seen through doors or windows. Burglars may repeatedly comb areas for potential properties and if your laptop, expensive games system and hi-fi and other valuables, including documents such as bank statements, are left in sight just once, your house could immediately become a target. Even leaving car keys in the hall is a bad idea, especially if they can be seen, or even reached, through the letter box.

Set up a Neighbourhood Watch

You may not want to be friends with your neighbours, but setting up a mutual watch, particularly of homes that are unoccupied for long periods of time, is an excellent idea. If your neighbours don’t know you all that well and are not aware that you are away, they may think nothing of a stranger hanging around. Otherwise, they could keep an eye out and report anything out of the ordinary.

Ask someone to call round

If you have friends or family who live nearby, ask them to call around to check everything is okay. This could involve simply ensuring that there is no post or flyers hanging out of the letter box, opening/closing curtains and putting on lights. It will give you peace of mind and ensure that you come home to a house that doesn’t feel as though it has been locked up for weeks.

Put obstacles in the way

If there is a back entrance to your home, make sure that it is blocked by objects, particularly while you are away. You could, for example, block the entrance with a rubbish bin and put flower pots down the path. The greater the effort to enter your property without making a noise, the less likely a burglar is to attempt it.

Have insurance!

Last, but not least, make sure that you have home/property insurance, even if you are renting. You never know when the unexpected could happen and, even if your valuables are few and far between, burglars can do a great deal of damage. You may think it cost-effective not to have insurance, but if you are burglared, you will have to think again and it will be too late.

You can’t always prevent every misfortune, but putting these checks in place should at least decrease the likelihood of your home being burglared.

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