10 tips on crime prevention
1. Set your alarm
If you’re serious about security, you might want to consider installing an alarm system. As well as providing another layer of security to your home, it could help to reduce your home insurance premiums. But if you have one installed, it needs to be activated to be effective (and to avoid invalidating your insurance).
Make a habit of setting your alarm whenever you leave the house, and before you go to bed at night. If you struggle to remember, leave yourself a note at the door, or set up reminders on your phone until it becomes a habit.
2. Update your locks
Installing certain approved lock types can reduce your home insurance premium. This is because they're the safest and the most likely to prevent burglars from gaining entry into your home. Some burglars become familiar with certain locks, and have developed methods to defeat them. So it’s important to have modern, professionally fitted locks.
3. Secure your windows
The same rule applies for windows — if you can prove to your insurer that your windows are secure, you may be able to get a more affordable insurance quote. But to ensure your home is safe, you must remember to lock your windows whenever you leave the house.
In the warmer months, you should avoid leaving them open at night as this provides an easy entrance point for burglars. You should also check the condition of your windows frequently, as rusty locks and rotten frames can make access even easier.
4. Hide valuables
Make sure you store valuables, such as jewellery, tablets and other gadgets out of sight as they can attract opportunistic thieves — and burglars aren’t known for resisting temptation. You might also want to consider investing in a safe.
It’s also advisable to keep your car keys hidden as many burglars will break into homes just to take cars. Keep your keys away from your front door to avoid ‘letterbox fishing’, a tactic where burglars use a fishing rod or long magnetic implement to grab keys through a home’s letterbox.
5. Keep your keys in a safe place
You might think your spare key is safe under the doormat or plant pot, but burglars know all the common hiding places. Never leave your keys in the inside of your door, as burglars can use the ‘fishing’ technique to reach them through the letterbox and let themselves into your home.
6. Invest in smart lighting
Many burglars operate in darkness with the aim of being as discreet as possible. Motion sensor lighting can alert you or your neighbours to movement near your home and can be enough to put a burglar off. You can also invest in automated low-energy lighting to come on at intervals. This will make it look like your home is occupied when you’re away, which can be an effective deterrent. There are also plenty of solar lights which do a great job of illuminating areas.
7. Don’t make it obvious when you’re away
It’s much easier for a burglar to enter your home and make off with your belongings if you’re not there to disturb them. This is why some burglars target homes when their occupants are away on holiday.
Don’t make it obvious when you’re away — cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries so they don’t pile up outside your door. Also consider letting a trusted friend, or have neighbour check in on your home and collect any post that accumulates. It’s best to avoid advertising your absence on social media, especially if your posts are public.
8. Invest in outbuilding and shed security
You may have secure locks on your home’s doors and windows, but have you thought about the valuables in sheds and outbuildings?
It’s not only the contents of these outbuildings you need to worry about — burglars can use your own tools against you by borrowing ladders or heavy tools to help them gain entry into your home.
9. Invest in CCTV
CCTV is an excellent tool to deter and catch would be intruders. Modern cameras can alert a user via their mobile phone to any motion that is captured.
10. Check your security regularly
Don’t take it for granted that all of your security measures are operating as they should be. If you have an alarm or any smart lighting, you should check them regularly. It’s sensible to undertake an annual check to ensure all of your security measures are up to date (this is a good time to check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors too). Self-testing is a good practice, but a professional can provide a more thorough assessment.
Stay safe and please contact the police on 101 should you see anything suspicious. If you have a neighbourhood watch or area facebook page make sure you let other users know of suspicious behaviour. Extra eyes can help deter criminals.
PCSO Richard Lawson
Ferry Road Police Station
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