As the dark, cold nights draw in, it can create a point of opportunity for criminals. Burglaries are reported to increase once the clocks go back in October, as we tend to be spending more time out of the house at Christmas parties, shopping or still at work.
Every home is the owner’s castle and to safe guard your property and to protect your home, here are a few tips to avoid the call to the insurers:
Turn on the Lights
Your house lights are a powerful tool to avoid any would be home invader lurking in the shadows. If you are visiting friends and family over the festive period, use a timer. It is advisable to use a timer in the main room of the house for example, the living room and if budget permits, also use one in the kitchen and/or one of the main bedrooms to make it look like there is someone in.
Outside of the home, use sensor lights where possible. These detect movement near their sensors and will avoid anyone who may be loitering. Plus who wants to stand by the front door, searching for their keys in the dark?
Check your Windows and Doors
Any burglar will try and find a weak point to gain access to your home. A lock that is easy to pick open is an massive advantage in their eyes. A thief can wriggle into a space that is larger than their head – to avoid this, ensure all windows, especially downstairs have locks and fit restrictors.
Make sure your doors are securely locked at all times, even when you are home and get into the routine of double checking them and your windows before the end of the night. Safeguard your home further by installing doors with multi locking systems and toughened glass. If you have UPVC door, ensure they are double locked.
It is important to make sure you do not make it easy for any would be burglar. If they are unable to make it into your home, they can still try to take your valuables, car keys and ID. Do not leave such items near windows, doors or especially your letterbox. Installing a letterbox cage will prevent a burglar from ‘fishing’ for your keys. Do not hide the spare set of keys under the front door mat or in a flowerpot – to the eyes of a burglar, it is a VIP invite into your home.
Is your Garage, Shed and Fence Secure?
If an item is worth something, a thief will try to make off with it. If an item can be used as a tool, a thief will use it. Your own power tools could end up being used to steal your car.
It may sound obvious, but never leave your garage door and shed unlocked. Secure tools in your shed and garage, don’t leave them lying around as a potential burglar will use them against your home to gain access.
Check for any weak points in your fence line. If you have a side entrance, place a tall, strong gate to avoid easy access down the side passage.
Be Neighbourhood Conscious
If you see someone acting strangely or suspiciously in the street near your house or your neighbours, contact the police. Unfortunately today, many burglars will take the opportunity to gain access via the homeowner themselves, especially if they are elderly, alone or vulnerable.
You can beat these crooks (not physically) by always verifying a caller from behind a locked door or door chain and confirming their ID. If you are in doubt, do not let them in. It is vital to feel and be safe in your home!
It is important to secure the hatches and defend your castle year round, but with these few tips hopefully it doesn’t mean you will have to live in fear of the winter dark and anyone lurking in the shadows.