If your house is broken into, it’s likely because the burglars felt your property provided them a good opportunity to do so undetected. Don’t leave your side gates, sheds, garages or windows open.
If you’ve been using a ladder, put it away as soon as you’ve finished with it, along with any tools that could be used to force entry. Untrimmed hedges, a high fence and an overgrown garden can all give burglars the cover they need to carry out their actions undetected.
Make sure parcels aren’t left on your front step for too long, or that there is mail sticking out of your letterbox. A house will look unoccupied if it’s unlit after dark, or all the windows are shut in hot weather.
If you’re going away, ask a reliable neighbour to keep an eye on your property. You could also invest in some things that would make your house look occupied and deter potential intruders, such as outside lights, a burglar alarm and even CCTV.
Is anybody home?
Before you go on holiday, cancel any papers or milk you have delivered. Change the greeting on your answer phone to give the impression that you're only temporarily unable to reply.
Install timers which switch lights or radios on automatically. Put decent locks on your windows and doors and make sure the frames are strong and in good condition, with reinforced glass in any door panels.
Talk to your insurer about how having a professionally installed and annually maintained burglar alarm or specific locks can give you a discount on your house insurance.
Don't invite stangers in
If you have a spare key, don’t be tempted to leave it under a plant pot or anywhere near the front door. Keep valuables out of sight from windows.
Never label your house keys in case you lose them and someone untrustworthy finds them. Avoid putting your home address on your suitcase luggage labels on your outbound journey.
If you live in a block of flats with an entry phone, don’t let people in on behalf of neighbours if you don’t know who they are, or let them come in the main front door behind you.
If someone knocks at your door claiming that they need to gain entry, perhaps to read your meter for example, be certain that they have the correct identification and that you're confident they have a valid reason for entering your home.
Consider having a spy hole and door chain fitted for extra security.
Neighbourhood Watch schemes operate around the UK and anyone can get involved. They are set up to allow local people to help the police cut crime and are led by volunteer co-ordinators who get everyone together to discuss how they can make their area a safer place to live.
Contact your local police and ask to speak to the Crime Prevention officer to find out how you can play a part.