Beat the burglar: home security tips

According to the British Crime Survey, burglary in the UK rose by 14% in 2011.

Unfortunately, many of us have either been a victim or know someone who has been a victim of burglary. In addition to the loss of your items and investments which can lead to an expensive house insurance claim, burglary is an invasion of your private space and can be quite traumatic. Keep these tips in mind and keep yourself safe from burglars.

Don’t give them a chance

Most thieves are opportunists and will burgle a house that has an easy access point, such as an unlocked door or an open window where little or no force is needed in order to gain entry to homes. With this in mind, make sure that your doors and windows are made secure. For external doors, is it recommended that five-lever mortise deadlocks are used (British Standard BS3621), which can only be opened with a key. This means that a burglar will be unable to gain access through your doors without breaking them down. Some home insurance providers will require certain types of locks, so the more secure you make your home, the better.

If you build it, they won’t come

Prevention is always better than cure, and so it’s far better to deter a thief than to catch one in your house making off with your DVD player. Security alarms are a worthwhile investment, and even if you’re unable to install one for whatever reason, merely putting up dummy box that looks like a security alarm is installed is better than nothing. Also, a spy-hole or door chain on your front door will allow you to check visitors before you give them access to your property. Joining a neighbourhood watch scheme (and using the little window sticker that comes with it) could also be an effective deterrent.

Get by with a little help from your friends

If you’re going away for any length of time, ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your property while you’re gone. Make sure that milk, newspapers and junk mail don’t pile up outside your house and that lights are switched on and curtains are drawn to give the appearance of the house still being occupied. Also, never leave your spare keys in a ‘hidden’ spot outside your house. Leave your keys instead with a trusted neighbour.

If the worst happens

Sometimes even the most exhaustive efforts won’t hold back the determined burglar. If the worst happens and you are a victim of burglary, make sure to tell the Police as soon as possible. Also be sure to inform your home contents insurance provider and make them aware of what’s been taken.

 With all this talk of changing locks, adding door chains and installing alarms, some may shake their heads at the costs involved.

However, these security measures, as well as saving you potentially thousands in stolen items, could also reduce your home insurance premium and possibly get cheap house insurance, since your insurer will see your house as being at less risk.

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