Monday, 17 November 2014

Burglary Deterrents and Home Security

As the nights draw darker and colder, it is important to evaluate the security of your home and take measures to ensure your home isn’t an easy burglary target...

November, the month you are most likely to be burgled!

Advice and tips on burglary deterrents and home security
During the winter period your home can be seen to be more vulnerable by an intruder, especially in the lead up to Christmas when you are more than likely to have unopened items of high value. According to the Daily Mail and home insurance provider LV=, November is the month you’re most likely to be burgled, with break-ins occurring an estimated every two minutes. Although the risk of burglary does differ according to the type of property and level of security that is already in place it is worth taking the necessary precautions in order to best protect yourself and your home from a break-in.

The majority of burglars are opportunists; in 3 out of 10 burglaries access was gained through an open window or door.

Follow these steps to ensure your home is protected this winter:

  • Alarm Systems - Alarms are a great deterrent but a complete home system can cost as much as £2000 with a yearly maintenance cost on top. If you don’t have this sort of money spare you can still give the impression of having an alarm system installed by purchasing a Dummy siren bell box for as little as £13.99.

  • Ensure your locks are British Standard - Home insurance companies will specify that your property must be fitted with British Standard locks on your doors and windows. After a break-in has occurred you may wish to claim on your home insurance in order to cover the costs of the damage caused by an intruder but by not meeting the requirements initially set by your home insurance provider you may run the risk of invalidating your insurance.

  • What are British Standard locks? - In order for any lock to be classed as a ‘British Standard’ lock they must have been through rigorous testing including strength, durability and of course security, these products are also re-assessed and re-tested to ensure you always have complete confidence in the safety, quality and reliability of the locks you have installed in your home. A higher quality lock such as a British Standard lock can act as a great deterrent against burglary as it will make it a lot harder for the intruder to gain entry.

  • Additional door security - When upgrading your home security you may want to consider having the following fitted to your door to help keep out any unwanted guests:
    • Door chain
    • Spy hole
    • Letterbox guard or cage - a letterbox can be used by an intruder to retrieve any keys stored on the inside of the house therefore these products will help to protect you from ‘keyfishing’.

  • Secure the perimeter - The type of fencing, hedging or walls around a property can attract or deter thieves. Check for weak spots where a burglar could get into your garden, for example, a low sagging fence or a back gate with a weak lock. A thorny hedge around your home can put burglars off but make sure passers-by can still see the front of your home so a burglar can’t work unnoticed. Think about laying gravel in your garden and driveway as this acts as a deterrent due to the noise created when being walked on.

  • Secure your shed - Your average garden shed is a treasure trove of valuables such as power tools, bicycles and garden equipment; therefore sheds will often provide easy pickings for opportunist thieves. The majority of sheds will not be strong enough to withstand an attempt to break into them therefore if possible store your valuables in an alternative secure location such as a garage or even your house.
  • See the steps below on how you can improve your shed security:

    • Upgrade your locks.
    • Have a shed alarm fitted.
    • Mark all valuables stored in your shed either using a UV pen or a DNA marker.
    • Grow prickly plants close to your shed window.
    • Have curtains or shades fitted to your shed window.

  • Lights - Even though the majority of burglaries occur during daylight hours, a large number still occur during the hours of darkness. Burglars are in search of houses with no one home. To reduce your home's risk of burglary at night, install motion lights on the front and on the rear of your house wherever possible. To be extra cautious, try to position the lights at the corners of your residence so the motion detectors can catch someone approaching from the side. Make sure the lights are positioned at a height that someone cannot disable them by easily reaching up and unscrewing the bulb.

  • Protect your valuables - Don't leave your valuables (Laptop, jewellery, mobiles etc.) where they can be seen from a window, consider drapes or blinds so that any view of the interior of your home is restricted.

  • The illusion of being home - If you work evenings or know you are going away on holiday for a number of weeks there are a number of cheaper options available that when used give the illusion that someone is still in the property.
    • Ask a friend or neighbour to open and close curtains.
    • Timer switches for lamps.
    • Fake TV – Simulates the light of a LED TV.
    • Pay for Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ Service to ensure any post you receive whilst you’re away doesn’t pile up; this can be a tell-tale sign that your property isn’t currently occupied.

By following these simple steps you will be helping to protect your home from an intruder.

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