There are plenty of practical steps you can take to protect your property from burglars. Not only do burglary victims lose their valued possessions but they can also be deeply upset by the thought of intruders entering their home. However, there is plenty that can be done to protect your property and to discourage burglars.
Don’t leave your house looking empty
If you are going away on holiday, do your best to make your house look as though it is inhabited. Burglary is often an opportunistic crime, so you can prevent it by taking some simple steps. Using automatic timers you can leave lights on at certain parts of the day. Leave the curtains open, cancel the milk and newspaper deliveries while you are away, and don’t leave valuables where they can be easily seen through windows. Ask a neighbour to collect your post for you. You could also ask them to park in your driveway. Nosy neighbours are a great burglar deterrent – be aware of strangers sitting in parked cars and make it obvious you can see them.
Make it hard to get in
Make it as difficult as possible for a thief to enter your property. Make sure your windows and doors are securely locked. Fit window locks to downstairs windows at the rear of your house, which is where a third of burglars will try to gain entry. Don’t leave ladders where they could be seen and used to help break into the upstairs windows of your house, or any other garden tools or bricks lying around, all of which are ideal for helping break into your property. If you have any vulnerable windows, you could even think about fitting some security grilles.
Make your garden a deterrent
A dog is a good burglar deterrent, but you don’t have to have one in order to scare burglars away from your garden. There are other simple ways to make your garden less burglar-friendly. Have a gravel or pebble driveway, so that you can hear people approaching. Don’t have a front wall more than a metre high, so that any uninvited guests can be easily seen from the street. Ideally, keep your side gates and driveway gates the same height as the boundaries around your house. Fit your gates with anti-climb paint. Choose your foliage with protection in mind – planting dense or spiky climbing plants and thorny bushes like holly. Finally, avoid temptation – don’t leave lawnmowers or bikes lying around in your garden, and keep your shed locked.
Spot bogus callers
Bogus callers pretend to be someone else, like a workman, or someone from a utility company. They could be looking to commit what is known as a distraction burglary, tricking their way into your home. Make sure you ask for ID from anyone arriving unannounced at your home that you do not know. You can set up a password scheme with your utility company to make sure a caller is genuine. If in doubt, do not let the caller in.
Fit a security device
The best and most obvious deterrent is to fit a security device. It’s possible to purchase everything from high security gates to a simple household burglar alarm. For maximum security, choose an alarm with flashing lights and sounds and fit it to both the front and back of your property. Security exterior lighting can deter night time burglaries. The most cost-effective option is to use low wattage bulbs which are activated by photo-electric cells which automatically switch on from sunset until sunrise. You could also think about motion-sensor lighting.
You could even want to think about installing CCTV, or purchasing a security gadget like the new invention called a “Smokecloak”, which is a smoke machine that belches out thick black smoke, making it impossible for a burglar to see what he is doing. If you can’t afford to spend money on alarms, install a fake one, or a box that looks like it could be a burglar alarm.
Mark your property
Mark your valuables, by writing or etching your postcode or house number on them. This could prevent them being easily sold on to others and will make them more easily traceable by police should they be stolen. There are now some chemically coded systems available specifically designed for marking your property, which can be used in conjunction with window stickers that indicate to thieves that this system is in use. If marked, your property can be returned to you much more easily. If you have particularly valuable jewellery or antiques you may want to keep a photographic record of these items in a safe place.