Doors and windows
Always close and lock external doors and windows, even if you are just going out for a short time. Get into the habit of checking window and door locks when you are going to bed. Double check any doors that have been unlocked during the day.
Don’t leave keys, including car keys and spares, near the door or where they could be reached from outside. Never leave keys in a garage or under a flowerpot. If you need to leave a spare key handy then give one to a trusted neighbour.
Fitting a peephole or door viewer allows you to see who is at the door, while a door chain or bar lets you open the door a little way to talk to the caller. You can also fit a door intercom system that allows you to speak to the person at your door
Burglar alarms and lighting
Burglar alarms that are easily seen, good home lighting and security lighting in the right places can put burglars off.
If you can, get a burglar alarm. Opportunist burglars tend to avoid houses where they can see one and the cost of your home insurance may also be reduced.
Make sure you have lighting at the front and the back of your house. You can use manual or automatic lighting. Using lighting that turns on when someone comes near can alert you to someone at your house and can also help you to see if anyone is lurking about when you come home. But always make sure that any lighting doesn’t disturb your neighbours.
Even if you are out pretend you are at home. Leave lights on in the evenings when you go out and use timers to switch on lights and radios when you are away from home. Burglars will think twice if they think someone is in.
Good lighting in your street or area around your house that can also help to put off burglars and make you feel safer, especially during the winter months when the nights are darker.
Garages and sheds
Never leave garages, outbuildings or sheds unlocked, especially if they are connected to your property. Alarms can be fitted to both, and can even be wired into the existing house alarm.
Remember that leaving garden tools lying around makes the burglar's life easy. They should always be locked away securely in a shed or garage. If you have ladders, they should be locked away too, or secured with a chain or padlock to a strong post or wall.
Gardens and fences
Never leave ladders lying about and make sure any trellising or gazebos don't give burglars an easy way to get to your upstairs windows.
Good quality fencing and locked gates can add to security and make it more difficult for burglars to get into the back of your house.
Hedges, shrubs and walls in the front garden should be no higher than one metre or three feet, in order to avoid giving a burglar a screen they can hide behind. Using gravel on paths or driveways stop burglar’s getting up to your house quietly and can help you know when someone is coming.
Going on holiday
Don’t make it obvious that you’re not at home. Leaving your bins out for days or letting your mail pile up is a sure sign there’s no one home. Remember to:
- check and lock your doors, windows, sheds and garages
- put your burglar alarm on
- ask someone you trust to check your house regularly - get them to bring in your bins and collect your post
- use timers to put your lights on to make it look like someone is home
Don’t advertise your holiday on social media
Getting ready for a holiday is an exciting time, so it’s tempting to talk about it on your social media accounts. But remember if you have a public profile you could be telling an opportunistic burglar that your home will be empty for a couple of weeks.
Be aware that your phone and the social networks you use can automatically tag posts with information about your location. Check your private settings and make sure you're happy with the information being shared.