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Property Advice March 14, 2016
     

Top 6 Ways to Improve Home Security

Figures for burglary in England and Wales may be slightly down on last year, but there were still over 33,000 reported incidents. You can improve your chances of staying out of those statistics by improving your own home security. These tips will give you a few starting places:

1. Get Keys Replaced

We tend to hold onto the same house keys for years, never considering that previous owners or tenants may also have a set, or that copies may have been made without our knowing.

It’s relatively easy to get locks replaced so you know you have a unique set of keys. You can even get patented lock systems that prevent unauthorised cutting without proof of identity and ownership.


2. Install Security Lighting

Security lighting is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, often mimicking the effect of someone at home. Timers for indoor lights sense dusk and turn on room lights. For maximum effect install them upstairs as well as down to make it look as though several people are home.

Outdoor lighting that senses movement is useful as it floods strategic areas with light when movement is detected. Installing such lights over doorways can deter opportunistic thieves who may approach to see if anyone’s home. This type of lighting is also of benefit to you, as you’ll never again have to fumble in the dark to find a keyhole.

3. Security Alarms

Alarm systems work in different ways, with various levels of sophistication if they detect a breach in security. Some will alert the police automatically, some will alert the security firm, and others will send an alert to your own phone.

If you can’t get a live alarm system installed, at least consider a dummy box. It’s often impossible to tell them from the real thing. A similar idea is to install dummy CCTV cameras in places where they’ll be seen.

If you do have an alarm system installed, make sure you actually use it. It’s also a good idea to regularly change the code.


4. Secure Windows and Doors

Sliding patio doors are vulnerable if they’re not fitted with top and bottom bolts, and sash jammers or guards can help protect UPVC windows and doors.

5. Break Bad Habits

The best security systems in the world won’t cure you of your own bad habits. Do you do any of these things?

• Leave keys in locks where anyone can see them?

• Leave your car keys on display in the house?

• Have passports lying around or in obvious places like bedside drawers?

• Leave gates or sheds unlocked?

• Leave windows wide open when you go out?

Changing your own bad security habits is one of the best things you can do to improve your home security.


6. Join Your Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

If your neighbourhood has a watch scheme, get involved so you can find out who the contacts and other volunteers are. They may have kits with helpful information, and markers for use on appliances or other valuables to increase the chances of getting them back if they’re stolen.

Only inform a few trusted neighbours when you are going to be away on holiday and never post this information through social media sites.

Watch members keep their ears and eyes open for unusual goings on, reporting anything suspicious to the police. It’s important to realise they’re not there to physically assist if a crime is in progress. Often, because of the extra vigilance, communities with a watch scheme have fewer instances of crime. If your area doesn’t have a scheme, maybe you could get one started?

Crimes like burglary are emotionally devastating, as well as expensive. We may never stamp it out completely, but there are small things we can all do to make it harder work for those out to cause heartache and trouble.

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