1. Protect your home with a burglar alarm
A working burglar alarm is essential. A flashing alarm box on the front and back of your home provides a visual deterrent for thieves, and the noise will alert your neighbours in the event of a break-in.
If your alarm is old or unreliable, consider getting a new wireless system. They are quick and easy to install, and can be operated by remote control or even via an app on your mobile phone.
Need to know where to start? B&Q, Homebase and Argos have a good selection of burglar alarms, to name but three major stores.
Be sure to choose a British standard approved alarm and always set it when leaving your home and at night.
Tips to protect your home while you are on holiday
2. Protect your home with anti-climb paint
Burglars are on the lookout for low fences, without surrounding prickly bushes, that are easy to hop over.
It is worth buying some anti-climb paint to provide a greasy surface to your drainpipes, fences, gates and walls.
Remember that thieves can also stand on your bins and garden furniture to help them climb through upper windows, so keep these stored away or chained up.
3. Protect your home with security lights
The last thing a burglar wants is to be illuminated in a pool of light as he approaches your home. Security lights with motion sensors are essential for any part of your property that might be accessible, but especially the front, back and garage doors.
This also allows you to check no one is lurking in the shadows when you get home in the evening.
Make sure the light is angled so that it doesn’t intrude into neighbours’ windows or passing vehicles.
Chartered Surveyor John Conlin advises a reader on security lighting
The house next door has installed powerful floodlights all round the house, which run all night lighting up two of our bedrooms like daylight.
I have asked the owner if he would shield the lights but he refuses, claiming that he has a right to do whatever is necessary to protect his home.
Security lighting should not illuminate adjoining land or buildings.
The ‘Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005’ makes this clear and provides the Local Council’s Environmental Health Department with powers to issue fines for non-compliance.
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4. Protect your home with strong locks on windows and doors
Most burglaries are opportunistic, so don’t tempt thieves into your home by leaving windows and doors open or even unlocked – and never leave a key in a ‘safe place’ like under the doormat, as thieves know where to look.
Many burglars will avoid smashing a window and will instead try to force the window frame itself, so make sure all windows in your home, both upstairs and downstairs, are fitted with at least one lock.
5. Protect your home with CCTV
This may not be ideal for everyone, but CCTV cameras are another obvious deterrent for burglars.
CCTV enables you to see exactly what is going on in and around your home, even when you are out. Cameras can be linked up to a TV or computer, as well as being connected to a router so you can view the images on your smartphone or tablet.
It is particularly useful if you want to see who is at your door before answering, and avoids having to be near the door to look through a spyhole.
Next article: How to keep your home safe when you go on holiday