The majority of domestic burglaries are not committed by master criminals, but rather by young people who are looking for an easy opportunity to gain access to a house unnoticed, so they can get their hands on your valuables to sell on. If a burglar has been successful at gaining entry to your property, they might be back again if you don’t do anything about it!
What does a burglar look for in a potential target property?
- Hiding places such as hedges or fences where they are less likely to be seen by you, your neighbours, or a passerby.
- No evidence of security measures, such as no flashing alarm box on the property exterior, and no warning signs displayed in windows.
- A street where most residents are away from their properties during the day.
- A house that is isolated from others on the street, or has a long driveway leading up to it.
- Obvious signs of wealth, such as nice cars on the driveway or expensive ornaments or gadgets visible through the windows.
- A front door that looks a bit tatty or only has one cylinder lock and no deadlock will tell a burglar that your home is not very secure.
The majority of burglaries typically happen during daylight hours when most people are at work; so it’s vital to ensure your home is unappealing to potential burglars by taking some of the following measures…
Protect your home from the outside
Identify your home’s weaknesses:
- Walk around the exterior of your home and try to view it as a burglar might.
- Can any of your expensive items be spotted through the windows?
- Does your flat roof extension allow access to a window that could be used to gain entry?
- Are there any blind spots at the rear that a burglar could use to stay out of sight?
- Be as thorough and as critical as you can, making a list of action points to follow up on.
- Ask your local police station if they offer a service to help you identify weaknesses in your home’s exterior.
Keep hedges and shrubbery to a minimum:
- Overgrown hedges may provide privacy for your home, but they can make great hiding spots for burglars.
- Keep your hedges trimmed back, or get rid of them altogether.
- Make your shrubbery work in your favour – plant thorny shrubs by windows to make access difficult and also painful, just remember not to let them get too overgrown.
Don’t leave expensive outdoor items on display:
- If you have a garage or shed, make use of it for storing valuable items.
- Things like bikes, lawnmowers, tools, and barbecues should be locked away when not in use.
- Not only could your valuables be stolen if left out, a bike or a sturdy barbecue could be used to gain the height needed to access a window.
- If your garage or shed has windows, consider putting up curtains to shield the contents from view.
- Likewise, keep tools and ladders locked away so that they can’t be used by a burglar to gain entry to your home.
Install a motion sensor light:
- Intruders rely on the cover of darkness to gain entry to your home.
- A motion sensor light will turn on when it detects movement in its line of sight.
- Lighting up dark areas around your home in this way is a good deterrent to anyone who is scoping out your house for a break-in.
Get to know your neighbours:
- If there’s a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in your area it’s a good idea to join it.
- If there’s no scheme in your area, it’s still a good idea to get to know your neighbours and look out for one another.
- When you go on holiday, ask a neighbour that you trust to keep an eye on your home.
- Taking an interest in your neighbours’ lives means you’ll be better able to tell if the person lurking near their property is a friend or a possible intruder.
- Having a good relationship with your neighbours also means they’re more likely to look out for your property too.
Create noise around the exterior of your home:
- Use gravel to make your garden path and driveway noisy underfoot, this acts as a good deterrent to burglars as well as alerting you to someone approaching your home.
- Keep your front and side gates closed; when someone opens them to approach your property you may hear them bang or hear the hinges creak, alerting you to their presence.
Protect your home from the inside
Keep your windows and doors locked:
- When you leave your house, ensure that all windows and external doors are locked.
- It’s also good practice to keep your doors locked when you’re in the house
- Ensure all exterior doors have deadbolt locks or a 3 point locking system.
- Ensure all windows are fitted with locks, and don’t leave the keys in plain sight.
Keep your valuables out of sight:
- Don’t store valuable items like tablets, games consoles, and laptops where they could be easily seen through a window.
- Use curtains and netting to add some privacy to your home and prevent potential burglars from seeing inside.
- Lock your valuable items away when not in use, to prevent a burglar from finding them if they do gain access to your home.
Make it look like you’re at home:
- Use timers to turn on the lights in your home periodically when you’re out.
- Vary the times that the lights turn on and off to make it look more natural.
- Use a timer to turn on the radio or television so that anyone looking through the windows will think that there is someone home.
- When you go on holiday, ask a neighbour or friend to clear any post from your porch, put your bins out on collection day, and bring them back in again.
Have a house alarm fitted:
- In some cases an alarm will act as a deterrent and put potential burglars off breaking into your home in the first place.
- If it doesn’t deter thieves from trying their luck, it will certainly scare them off once it starts going off!
- Purchase an alarm from a reputable and well-known company like Chubb, Banham, or Yale, and ensure you get it fitted by a professional to ensure it is set up properly.
- Inform your home insurer after having it fitted; many offer lower premiums for homes that have alarms installed.
- Don’t display a sticker in your front window advertising which security system you have; this gives a burglar the information they need to be able to disable that type of alarm.
Cage your letterbox on the inside:
- Burglars are known to use a long stick to fish for your house and car keys through your letterbox.
- Fitting a cage on the back of your door means that your post can still be left by the postman, but burglars won’t be able to fish your keys out.
- It’s also a good idea to not leave your keys on a table or wall hook in the hallway where they could be easily accessible to a burglar.
Get a dog:
- A dog can act as a good deterrent to intruders.
- Many burglars report that large dogs don’t put them off, but small dogs that bark and yap a lot put them off entering a property as their barking draws attention to the situation.
- Obviously it’s not advisable to get a dog just for the purpose of protecting your home; you should only get a dog if you can commit to caring for it properly.
Protect your home while you’re away
Make sure your home is fully locked up:
- Whether you’re away for the weekend or on a two week holiday, be sure to lock all the windows and doors before you leave.
- If you have garden gates etc make sure they are locked and secured.
- Close and lock all the windows in your home, being sure to put the keys somewhere safe and secure rather than leaving them near the windows.
- Ensure your back door and any side doors are fully locked and secured.
- As you leave, ensure that you lock your front door and porch door, if you have one.
Make your home look lived in:
- Ask a neighbour or friend to move your mail out of your porch so that it doesn’t pile up.
- Also ask them to put your bins out on collection day and bring them back in once empty.
- Mow your lawn before you go away on holiday so that it doesn’t look too overgrown in your absence.
- Leave some curtains and blinds open; when they’re all closed it’s a dead giveaway that there’s no one home for a few days.
- Set timers for your lights and lamps so that they come on at different times each day to create the illusion that someone is home.
Tidy up before you go away:
- Don’t leave things out in plain sight in your garden.
- Put things like tools, toys, barbecues, and garden furniture away in the shed or garage where applicable.
- Put your valuables away inside the house so that they can’t be seen through windows.
- Prune any hedges and shrubs before you go on holiday so that there are fewer places for a burglar to hide.
Keeping your home safe from intrusion is not just about turning it into Fort Knox and making it impenetrable to burglars. You can deter a burglar by simply making your property look a lot less appealing as a potential target compared to other houses on your street or in your neighbourhood. The tips above should have given you plenty of ideas to get started on making your home much more burglar proof! Do you have any other top tips? Let us know!