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Tips on making your property secure

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October is National Home Security Month – and it’s very timely with the darker evenings ahead. Under the cloak of darkness, burglars can sneak around the outside of your home unnoticed by you or your neighbours and gain entry with barely anyone knowing about it – until it's too late.

With the nights now drawing in, burglars have even longer hours for making the most of the darkness. But don’t imagine that break-ins happen only during the night. The hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. – when most people are out at work – is when most burglaries occur, says the website Safe Style.

The message is clear, therefore, never let slip your defences and always ensure that your property is secure, day and night. Especially when you consider that:

  • nearly half – 47% - of all burglaries are opportunistic crimes carried out on the spur of the moment;
  • you might find it even scarier to consider that an estimated 28% – that’s well over a quarter – of all burglaries are carried out when there is someone at home;
  • remember that once he has gained entry, the burglar does not hang about but can be in and out of your home again in around just 10 minutes;
  • the typical burglar lives much closer to you than you think – within an average radius of just two miles. So, it is relatively easy for your home and your movements to and fro to be kept under careful observation;
  • sadly, too, it is a crime that only rarely results in the culprits being apprehended – several years ago, the BBC reported that only an estimated 14 out of 100 burglaries resulted in an arrest being made.

What you can do

Our Knowledge Base includes a detailed Property Security Guide which may help you identify some of the simple and straightforward steps you may take. The more secure your home, the happier your home insurers are likely to be and the more peace of mind you will have.

Conversely, your failure to take reasonable precautions might be interpreted by your insurer as contributory negligence on your part if you ever need to make a claim (for example, if you leave your house without setting the alarm or leave a window open).

Note that the majority of burglars gain access to your home through the front door! Remember always to keep it locked, even when you may be nearby – in the garden, for example.

Don’t leave house keys or car keys hanging visibly from a hook but hide them away, is the advice from Police UK – with the same going for valuables such as jewellery or passports.

A prominently positioned burglar alarm system may help to deter – but will not stop the determined burglar – so, needs to be part of your overall home security system. The latter includes exterior lighting systems – commonly switched on by motion detectors and strategically placed around your home, including the back garden.

Don’t make it obvious that there is no one at home but buy some timer switches for the lights in some rooms, along with a radio and maybe even the television. Also, as we highlighted in a post earlier this year, don’t advertise the fact that you are away on social media.

Consider joining your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme and do a deal with those immediately next door to you that you will keep an eye on each other’s homes. Get your neighbour to park on your drive, for example, if you are on holiday to give the impression that someone is at home.

Finally, as Shaw Taylor said on his programme Police 5 in the 60’s and 70’s (if you are old enough to remember him!): “Keep ‘em peeled”.