How do I make my home secure?
Whether you're going away, or are just going out, there are a few simple precautions that should help keep your home secure.
According to the Home Office site, Police UK, homes with no security measures in place are five times more likely to be burgled than those with simple security measures.
We look at some of the measures to stop burglars from targeting your home.
Everyday measures to stop burglars targeting your home
- Lock your windows and doors every time you leave the house. Having good window locks and strong deadlocks can make a big difference
- Hide keys out of view and away from the letterbox and windowsills
- Keep valuables out of view of downstairs windows
- Leave the radio and lights on to make your home seem occupied. Use the timer on the radio and plug in timers for your freestanding lamps.
- Keep on top of your garden maintenance. High, overgrown hedges provide cover for intruders. So keep shrubs low and trimmed
- A light that comes on outside when someone approaches your house is a good deterrent. Inexpensive solar lights spotted around the outside of your house or flat work well and are easy to install
- Ensure side gates are locked and fencing is in a good state of repair
- Install – and turn on – your alarm. See below for more on alarms
- Be extra careful if you’re having building work. Burglars may be attracted by the scaffolding, providing easy access to less secure upstairs windows
How to stop burglars from targeting your home when you’re on holiday
- If you have a good relationship with your neighbours, ask them to keep an eye on the property, use your parking space and collecting your post or pushing it through the letterbox to create the illusion that someone is home.
- Cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries
- Use the Royal Mail’s ‘keepsafe’ service – they keep your mail for up to 2 months while you’re away
- According to security experts ADT 78% of burglars use Facebook and Twitter to target potential properties. Play it safe by avoiding giving too much away online.
I want to leave valuables at home, can I hide them?
- Yes. If you’re hiding valuables, be creative. Burglars look for jewellery and laptops in the master bedroom, under mattresses and bed. So they’re less likely to find them if they’re hidden among your children’s Lego or in the cereal cupboard. But try not to forget where you’ve put them
- Identity theft is big business. Make sure you take passports and driving licenses with you if you go away for a longer period. Or consider a properly secured safe, which can also be used for valuables like jewellery.
Burglar deterrent gadgets
- You might consider investing in one of the many apps that now allow you to turn lights on and off, draw and open curtains and watch CCTV footage of your home from anywhere in the world.
- It’s a classic tactic of burglars to ring the bell to see if anyone is in before sneaking round to the back. So things like the nest security camera allows you to see who’s there via a wifi-enabled camera, and even speak to them.
How do I know if my home is at risk?
- The risk of burglary changes depending on where you live. You can check crime in your area on the Police.uk website
Is it really worth investing in burglar alarms?
- Yes, as well as helping catch criminals, they can be a deterrent
- Make sure the “bell boxes” on the side of your house are visible
- A basic system should cost from £300-£600. But expect to pay around £250 a year extra for a package including maintenance and automatic police call out (the police also charges a one-off registration fee of £45)
- Don’t use 1234 or 0000 as your alarm code – this is the first thing an intruder will try
- Make sure your alarm works and is activated – your insurer might not pay up if it’s switched off or fails to sound
- If you have an alarm, make sure your security firm knows you’re going away. If your alarm is going off they need to know you’re not at home to deal with it and respond accordingly. It’s also worth giving a trusted neighbour your alarm code and a key to your house so they can turn off the alarm if it’s gone off by accident.
Is CCTV too extreme?
- Not necessarily. CCTV is becoming surprisingly common among private homeowners. And, as well as helping catch intruders, cameras can be a deterrent.
- It’s important to decide what kind of cameras you want in your home. The options include wireless, remote access, and even night vision.
- But be careful, the law says your cameras can’t point onto public land, or any part of someone else’s property.
Is insurance worth the extra cost?
- It won’t make your home more secure but it will bring you peace of mind.
- Home contents insurance covers theft of your possessions. But make sure you are not paying more than it would cost to replace the items you are insuring. See our guide on how to get the best insurance deal