Although burglary rates are falling, a break-in can cause emotional scars as well as financial loss. Here’s how to keep your home secure
Research by one large insurance firm proves we are a nation of animal lovers. A study by Aviva shows UK homeowners worry more about their pets when leaving the house than falling victim to a burglar.
But one East London estate and letting agent questions these findings. Peach Properties, which has branches in trendy Shoreditch and Bow, reports that after location the majority of tenants and home buyers put a property’s security at the top of their list of requirements.
Whether you live on the edge of the City of London or in the heart of suburbia, here are 4 useful tips about how to keep a home safe from intruders.
1 Give the Impression someone is at home
The vast majority of burglaries are opportunist crimes committed by men aged between 36 and 50, according to the Ministry of Justice. However, its figures are based on the age of burglars who are found guilty of the crime, not those who get away with it.
Burglars of any age prefer to strike if they believe a property is unoccupied at the time. Therefore, it’s advisable to keep a light on in a room that is visible from your front door whenever you leave your property.
If you are away for longer periods of time or on holiday, leave a light on a timer to give the impression someone is home. You may even consider leaving a radio on or the TV. Sensor lights are also a good way to deter would-be burglars by removing the cover of darkness they prefer.
2 Secure all windows, doors and gates
Make sure all your windows and doors are securely locked and keep keys out of sight, not in the locks.
However, rent guarantee specialist Assetgrove points out that in rental properties a large ground-floor window is often used as a fire escape, so make sure the key is hung in easy reach of the exit.
Check your locks are secure by getting them inspected by a qualified locksmith. To secure a multi-locking door, lift the handle to lock and remove the key. Keep any gated entrances to the property locked and put wheelie bins against them for further security. Lock sheds and outhouses to guard against equipment such as ladders being used to break in the house. Use bars or security grilles to protect the windows.
3 Protect valuables inside the property
Even with the best intentions, break-ins can still happen. Invest in a home safe to store any valuables. This way, if the worst does happen, you won’t have lost the possessions that are the hardest to replace.
Award-winning estate and letting agent Paramount Properties advises securing the safe to a solid surface so it can’t be stolen. Mark any valuables that won’t fit in the safe with your house number and postcode. There are security services you can register valuables with by giving the serial number so in the event of a break-in, the goods can be easily identified if recovered.
Take photographs of valuables so the police can be given the details easily if items are stolen.
4 Install a security alarm
Contact a reputable security device company to install an intruder alarm to your property. There are many different types of alarm on the market depending on your budget. It’s reassuring to know if the worst happens and someone tries to get in, a repetitive loud noise is likely to ward them off.
Property crime is still relatively rare so the chances are, it won’t affect you. However, it doesn’t hurt to take as many precautions against it as you can, to make it even less likely that it will happen to you.
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