According to the latest figures, crimes in the home are on the decrease, particularly burglary, which is good news for everyone. Still, despite the reduction in overall crime levels, over 780,000 burglaries happen each and every year in the UK – that’s around one burglary every 40 seconds. If you want to protect your home and possessions, it’s important you think about how to make your home safer and less attractive to thieves.
You are statistically six times more likely to be burgled if you don’t have locks on your windows and deadlocks or double locks on the outside doors, so use your common sense and make sure you lock up both when you go out and when you go to bed. Apart from common sense measures however, what other inexpensive features can help secure your property?
1. Invest in timers – Timers are a couple of pounds on the high street, and can be invaluable when making your house look like someone is home, even when you’re on holiday. As well as selecting a few lights to come on and off during the evening and at night, put a radio on at conversation level, tuned to a talking station such as Radio 4.
2. Strategic planting – Making it difficult to access windows or to enter your property over walls and fences is a great way to protect your home. Planting box hedges or spiky bushes in front of windows and walls will make your home look nice and deter those thieves. You could also install a trellis along the top of your fence panels, which will look perfectly natural, but make it very difficult for thieves to climb in.
3. Crunchy gravel – In 57 per cent of cases, the family were at home when the burglary occurred. Consider installing some crunchy gravel on your paths and drive, as thieves will hate the racket that this makes and will probably think about targeting someone else instead.
4. Perfect placement of possessions – Don’t leave laptops, TVs and other high value items on display. Put them away, or position them away from windows and prying eyes. Be careful about putting keys on hallway tables too, as thieves have been known to ‘fish’ keys through the letterbox so they can let themselves into your home or steal your car.
5. Know your neighbours – This really is the simplest security measure you can take and best of all, it’s free. Let your neighbours know that you work all day, or if you are going to be away for a while. Advise them that if someone is seen around your property, or if there are unfamiliar cars on the driveway, they should call the police. The eyes and ears of a few neighbourly onlookers is by far the best security system out there.
Of course, even the most diligent homeowner can still fall foul of today’s crafty burglars. For this reason, it is essential to have good home insurance cover. Good policies let you specify items and value of cover, so you can be sure you’re protected if the worst does happen.