There is an old saying that “your home is your castle” and never has this more apt than when it comes to homeowners trying to deter burglars. But as most of our homes don’t have ramparts, a moat or an army of knights to defend it, we have listed below some of the steps that you can take to make it less likely that you will be one of the 1.3 million domestic crime victims each year in the UK.
1. Secure windows and doors.
As a general rule, the older your windows and doors are the less secure they are likely to be. Wooden, single glazed windows and doors can be seen as a weak point by potential burglars. As can older double glazing that may be failing or not have the latest security features.
When choosing new windows and doors, the look of the finished product and value for money are of course vital considerations. But make sure you also look at their built-in security characteristics. What are the features of the locking system, do they come with any guarantees? Do they meet the standard BS7950 and achieve Secured by Design status?
Also, remember that even the best doors and window locks, clearly only work if these potential points of entry are shut securely. This is particularly important when you leave your home, but locking them when you are at home also means that you reduce the chance of a burglary, with all the risks that this involves.
2. Keep valuables out of sight.
Having TVs, jewellery, computers, and other items of high value on view to passers-by or anybody that looks through your windows, greatly increases the risk of break-in. Don’t forget to keep wallets, car, and house keys out of sight, as well. Burglars may hook keys through a letterbox and then let themselves in, so keep them well away.
One sure-fire way of ensuring that your valuables are not on view is to consider blinds, although remember to not make it look as though the home is shut up and nobody is there.
3. Get a dog or pretend to have one.
Man’s best friend as they are sometimes known can also be your home’s best friend when it comes to deterring burglars, as burglars hate barking dogs. Not only is there the prospect of coming to harm, but it makes it much more likely that neighbours will be aware that something is not right. If you do not have a dog, then maybe still consider a “beware of the dog” sign on fencing
4. Consider an alarm.
Burglars don’t want to be seen or heard, so setting off an alarm and attracting attention will disturb them. 71% of burglars say they would be put off burgling a home that has an alarm.
When choosing an alarm company to instal your alarm, look for an organisation that is accredited by the National Security Inspectorate.
If you live on your own or feel vulnerable you may also wish to consider a “panic button” as an optional extra.
Last but by no means least if you cannot afford a full alarm system, consider a fake alarm box, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated and difficult to distinguish from the real thing.
5. Make your home look as though somebody is in.
With many people now working from home, empty houses or flats can stand out even more.
If you’re coming home after dark, leaving a couple of lights on will help your home appear occupied. Timer plugs or remotely controlled lighting and power sockets with tools like Hive or Kasa, are easy to use and affordable. Don’t restrict it to the hall light, however, as that can actually signal the fact you’re not home to experienced burglars.
6. Consider motion activated lighting.
Motion detector lights have become an increasingly popular part of home security as well as one of the most affordable. They serve as a warning when someone comes within a certain distance of the property at the point where the light is situated. When located at the front and back doors along with other main access points, this can provide you with enhanced security to protect against unwanted visitors and potential criminals.
Try and ensure that they are positioned and angled so as to minimise annoyance to neighbours, as these lights may also be activated by pets and movement of trees or shrubs.
7. Secure your boundaries.
Keep front boundaries such as fences or hedges low. Burglars hate the prospect of being viewed or caught in the act. Make sure your front wall, fence or shrubs are no more than one metre (3.2ft) high, so a potential burglar can be seen from the street.
Other suggestions include; gravel on the driveway or path to make a quiet approach more difficult, and having rear or side boundaries of between 1.8 and two metres (around 6ft) tall to make them difficult to climb over. The Police also suggests spiky plants along boundaries as a deterrent.
8. Love thy neighbour.
COVID and lockdowns have made us more aware than ever of the benefits of having good neighbours.
If you are going to be away overnight or on holiday, why not ask a neighbour to park on your drive. Maybe they can also put out bins, mow the lawn (for longer absences) and hold safely any parcels that are left on the doorstep. Most neighbours will be willing to consider doing this if you offer to do the same in return.
9. Be smart online.
Social Media has become an everyday part of most of our lives. We share endless information, sometimes without taking a moment to ourselves to think of what information we’re actually sharing to the world and how this might be used.
So, if you’ve got a holiday booked, or if you’re only leaving for a few hours, avoid sharing this information online. You don’t want to return home to find all your valuable possessions gone.
10. Don’t forget the garden.
Thieves are attracted to garden sheds because they contain many every day, unmarked items that are easy to sell, and they’re often left unlocked or unsecured. Locking the shed and not leaving tools, equipment and bikes outside will help lower your risk of having items stolen. Also make sure that you don’t leave anything accessible that might assist the burglar such as a wheelie bin, ladders or bricks or other objects that can be used to force entry.
We hope that you find these tips to be helpful and useful. Remember that burglaries are not that common, less than 1 in 100 homes is burgled each year. If you take positive action, you can make it much less likely that you will be that one. If you are considering new windows and doors as part of your efforts to deter criminals, then please take a look at what Glevum has to offer – www.glevum.co.uk or give us a call on 0800 332255 to request your free quote or home visit.