Summer burglary prevention advice for homeowners

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Now that the summer is here people can become complacent about home security. The most common cases of opportunist summer burglary involve offenders that:

  • enter an insecure front door while residents are in the back garden
  • enter doors that are closed but unlocked at night while residents are asleep
  • reach through windows to take valuable items

Crime reduction advice

  • Ensure that windows and doors are closed and locked when you are out. Don’t leave small windows open believing them to be safe. On sunny days keep your curtains and blinds closed to keep the room cool
  • If you want to leave windows open while you sleep, fit window restrictors so they cannot be fully opened, or make sure they are not large enough to allow access to a burglar.
  • When out in your garden ensure that windows and doors to the front of the house are secure. It only takes a second for someone to get into your home and take things without you noticing.
  • Do not leave valuables on display in front of windows or in reach of open windows or doors.
  • Ensure that all barbecue and garden equipment and tools are securely locked up in a shed and out of sight. Tools can be used by the potential offender to break into your home.
  • Consider fitting outside security lighting to help deter burglars. Even using pea shingle or gravel on a driveway and spiky plants in garden beds can help.
  • Don’t leave any keys near entry points where they can be ‘fished’ or ‘hooked’ out through the window, letter box or cat flap.
  • Ensure any internal handle-operated locks on UPVC doors are fully secured with a key.
  • Ensure you set your burglar alarm and make sure you have a visible external alarm sounder and some way of being notified if your alarm is activated when you are not at home.

Sheds – Easy pickings?

Offenders see sheds as easy pickings because they are unprotected and lack basic security measures. The buildings often contain property that can be sold on or implements that can be used to force entry into the owner’s home.

  • Many sheds whilst being of good construction fall short on basic security.
  • It is easy to unscrew the ironmongery, steal contents and in some cases replace the screws to make it look as if the shed has not been tampered with.
  • By using tamper-proof screws or coach bolts together with a good quality pad bar or hasp and staple and close shackled padlock, the shed owner will make it harder for the would-be thief.
  • It is also a good idea to bond any window glass in, with mastic to prevent easy removal.
  • Ensure all tools and equipment are locked away when not in use.
  • High-quality locks should be used on doors. Windows can be fitted with a grille or, as a cheaper alternative, chicken wire, to slow a thief down.
  • A shed alarm can also be installed or see if this can be linked to your home system.
  • Post-coding or indelibly marking all property such as lawnmowers, bikes, and tools using ultra-violet pens, forensic marking such as Selecta DNA or Smartwater or engravers.
  • Installing security lighting as a deterrent, and plants such as thorny shrubs to act as a barrier at potential access points.
  • If building a shed, put it where it is most visible to you and your neighbours.

Going on holiday?

  • Make your home look occupied.
  • If you’re out or going away, ask a trusted neighbour to open and close your curtains for you.
  • Ask a neighbour if they don’t mind parking their car on your driveway and trimming your garden to make your home look occupied.
  • Cut the front and back lawns before you go away and trim any plants that burglars could hide behind.
  • Cancel any regular deliveries such as your newspapers/milk.
  • Before your holiday, don’t advertise that you are going away on social media and try and save posting photos until you return.
  • Register for the Royal Mail ‘Keepsafe’

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