Check Your Locks
“Statistics show three out of ten burglaries occur without intruders needing to use force, by taking advantage of open or weak locks, and 40% of all break-ins occur through the front door,” says Mark Farmer-Wright, Products Development Manager for Anglian Home Improvements. “If you are unsure about the security of any of your fittings or locks, consider replacing them immediately to ensure you can leave your home with peace-of-mind at all times.” But which locks to choose? The experts at Quickslide Windows & Doors tell us that there are certain signs to look out for on your windows and doors that’ll help make your home a bit more secure – for example, you should avoid spring-latch locks as these are easy targets for ‘loiding’ experts, who are skilled at pushing a plastic card against the lock’s latch to unlock the door. Instead, both Anglian and Quickslide recommend investing in cylinder locks. Quickslide also recommend changing all your locks and cylinders when you move into a new home or if you lose a set of keys. They advise investing in patented keys which can only be copied with proof of ownership to any professionals doing work in your house.
Look At Your Hinges
Here’s one you’d never think to check – Quickslide say if your door hinges are located on the exterior of your home, you should resent the hinges to the inside as this will make a forced entry far more difficult.
Install A Security System
It seems like a very obvious solution, but it’s a really effective one – according to a study by the University of North Carolina, around 60% of convicted burglars are actually deterred by the presence of a security system, stating that it influenced their decision to target another house.
Know Your Neighbours
It’s always a wise idea to get floodlights on the outside of your house as a deterrent, but as most burglaries happen between 10am and 3pm, that might not help that much in the grand scheme of things. But getting to know your neighbours could be the greatest deterrent of all, says Marcus Felson, a professor of criminal justice at Texas State University. A neighbour is the one who’s going to pick up the phone and call the police if there’s suspicious activity around your property. Felson recommends introducing yourself to neighbours on all sides of your house, particularly the ones that live behind you as burglars tend to enter through the back door or window (and make sure your hedges are trimmed back so they can see your home). Those who are retired or work from home will be key, as they’re the ones who can not only keep an eye out, but also take in your packages so they’re not left unattended outside your home.
Get A Dog
As if you needed another excuse to get that pup you’ve always wanted – 12 former burglars consulted by Co-Op Insurance said loud barking dogs was the second biggest deterrent for burglars, after CCTV. Half of them said burglars were opportunists wandering the streets who would avoid a difficult break-in if it were likely to attract attention.
Think Before You Bin
One way thieves can ‘window shop’ your home is to see what you’re putting in the rubbish. Make sure if you throw away any bank statements or bills that you shred them first to save yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft, and if you make any big purchases, like getting that TV you’ve always wanted, ensure that the box is cut up into piece and put in a recyclables container – a big TV box on the side of the road screams that you have something expensive in your house just waiting to be stolen.
Close Your Windows
Again, this may seem obvious, but the reason for keeping your windows closed is twofold: of course, closing your windows will prevent making an easy access point for burglars, but as Tom Flack, Editor-in-Chief at MoneySuperMarket, says: “Claiming on your home insurance if someone breaks in without forcing entry may be difficult, especially if there is no evidence of a crime being committed. To ensure you’re paid out in full, always check windows and doors are locked before you go out, whether you’re just popping to the shops or leaving for an entire evening out.”
Get To Grips With Timers
If you’re out for the evening or are going on holiday, one of the best things you can invest in is a timer for your lights. There are two ways to do this – either you can control it with your smart phone or the light can simply be triggered by a timer, so you can choose when to have the lights on/off when you’re not at home.
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