How To Protect Your Home Against Intruders

With the current police resources under so much pressure, burglars believe they are untouchable: Only 15 per cent of burglaries are being solved ( Manchester Evening News, 16 July 2012 ). If a burglar gets into your house, it's more likely they will get away with it. More than two thirds of home owners, in the UK, feel more at risk of violent burglaries than a decade ago. More than 80 per cent of burglaries in the UK are completed successfully. 60 per cent of burglaries happen at day time. 35 per cent of intruders enter through the front door.

How to deal with intruders

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It's bad enough when burglars rob you of your valuable properties, but the emotional shock of having your home invaded can be deeply upsetting. The devastation can be even more crashing if our complacency has been the main cause. Our common reaction is usually surprise and fear as we never thought it could happen to us and we are not sure if it will happen again.

Unlike many other crimes, burglary can be prevented if you take the necessary measures to safeguard your home or business premises. As a home or business owner, you should take the time and effort to secure your premises.

We have compiled a comprehensive list of tips on how to secure your house or small business against intruders and make it harder for them to invade your premises.

  1. Keep anything valuable invisible. Don't tempt thieves to come in.
  2. Don't just have glass near the doorknob. All they need to do is smash and open the door.
  3. If you decide to make a door for your cat or dog, make sure it's secure.
  4. Make it hard for thieves to conceal themselves while breaking in. Remove and clean all tall, thick shrubs around your premises.
  5. Install a good, timed, exterior light. Or even better get a motion sensor flood light. This will notify you of any activity in progress. Whenever the motion lights get activated, it says " something is going on here", which will draw attention to your house. If you are using one of those solar walkway lamps, they are not bright enough. Exterior lights should be installed in out-of-reach spots to avoid the risk of being damaged. Burglars may choose to bypass a well-lit home.
  6. If you had worked hard and you have expensive car(s) leave them in the garage. Keep your blinds closed. If you have just bought the latest flat TV or air Mac, trash and conceal the packaging boxes. Large-screen TVs seem to make thieves go crazy. Avoid leaving stuff in plain sight that says "We have lot of £££". You should also shred all papers and destroy any old hard/USB/memory SD drives.
  7. Don't display one of those "Protected by ADT " signs. Thieves will have handy information how disable a systems if they know what it is.
  8. If you have an installed in-window air conditioner , make sure it's secure.
  9. Get a dog - however small. A good dog can act as a detection device. The bark is more important than the bite.
  10. At winter times, it gets dark before you get home from work. Time a light be on at a certain time but don't leave it on all day. If your light is on at 2AM, it won't take them long to realize you are not at home and the same goes for opening the curtains. A moderate music or noise can deter intruders. 40 per cent of break-ins occur during the day when many people are at work. Using some gadgets, such as Philips Hue Lighting System, you can control your home lighting from anywhere using internet connection. The gadget can even track your location using GPS and recognize you are not at home. A Lamp/Appliance timer outlet is a cheap gadget that comes with a security feature that turns the lights, radio and TV on/off randomly so your home looks like occupied.
  11. Always keep the lawns, side walks clean and tidy, put away emptied rubbish bins, and clip hedges on schedule. If you are away from home for a while, get your neighbours and friends to do that to give the impression you are still at home. A neglected yard means no one is at home.
  12. Don't be fooled by made-up stories if you encounter somebody trying to get in the house or on his way out: criminals are very creative in making up stories.
  13. Use the thick, cylinder, pick-resistant locks to secure exterior doors.
  14. If you have keypad entry devices, make sure you replace them after extensive use as the combinations and letters start to be visible.
  15. Secure your home wireless network. Cyber criminals could get access to confidential information.
  16. Join a neighbourhood watch with the help of your local police. community crime prevention , sometimes, can be more effective than surveillance systems, alarms and your local police in preventing crime. Report any suspicious activity. Display a neighbourhood watch sticker on the window.
  17. Make sure nearby street lights are working. If not contact the council or your local company. Intruders don't like to be spotted on their way in.
  18. When you are away ask trusted neighbours to keep en eye on your home, and do the same for them. Ask them to pick up your mail, circular, leaflets and newspapers when you are away. If this is not possible cancel deliveries of expected parcels or mail. You can also ask them to open and draw the curtain, sometimes, to give your home the live-in look. Better still is to have house sitters living full-time in your home. Having on house sitter also cuts down on preparations time and extra expenses before leaving.
  19. If you usually park your car outside and you have to take it away, ask your neighbour to park their car in the space.
  20. Don't use the social media to advertise your holiday or business trip. The last thing you do it to tweet when you will be away from home.
  21. Almost 30 per cent of burglaries are no-force entries. Lock your doors, windows and gates. Leaving the front gate open is an invitation to anybody to walk in. If you close the gate only when you are away, you hint to the thieves "Nobody is here. Please, help yourself in". If there is a lock it should look similar whether you are at home or away.
  22. Don't leave a spare key at home. Thieves might just grab the key and come back later to clean up your home. You should also count and code your keys so you know which is missing.
  23. Don't leave any door keys under doormats or plant pot! Burglars know where to look. If you can break in, so can a burglar.
  24. If you have a peep hole in your front door, make sure your children can reach it. If not leave a chair or stool near the door, so they can see who is outside.
  25. If you are not a home owner, you better know your neighbours. Renters are 85 percent more likely to be a victim of a break-in.
  26. If you have an alarm system, you can hire alarm response company to turn up and investigate, but false alarms might cost you. 94 per cent of burglars would rather avoid a property with a monitored alarm.
  27. When you are at home, your car and house keys should be kept out of sight and away from the front door. Thieves can use the letter box to reach and squirrel your keys out without even breaking in. Use Internal letterbox cages and shields to prevent keys from being fished through the letterbox.
  28. Wooden front doors should be solid timber, 5-lever notice with a strong frame to British standard.
  29. Reinforce you wooden frames with "London" metal strips or "Birmingham" bars.
  30. If you decided to keep the glass panel in your front door, you should reinforce them with security film or grilles.
  31. When moving into a previously rented or owned home, make sure you change the locks.
  32. Recently, in London, thieves attached tiny and invisible remote cameras to cats in order to view what's inside homes, so watch out for pussy-cat-spies.
  33. At least 25 per cent of people routinely forget to lock their back door. Secure your rear garden and lock all gates. Don't think because you locked the front door, your house is secure. Securing the back door is as important as securing the front door using two locks for each. A simple Yale lock won't stop anybody from breaking his way in.
  34. Your front boundaries, including hedges, trees, and shrubs should not be more than one meter high to allow natural vision through. This will deny thieves a screen they can work behind.
  35. Use anti-climbing topping on gates to make it difficult for thieves to climb over.
  36. Sliding doors are an easy way for burglars to get access to your home. Lock them and place a curtain rod in the sliding track to prevent them from being slid open.
  37. Use strong and reliable hasps and staples for wooden side gates: one on the top and one on the bottom.
  38. Mark your valuable property with ultraviolet security marker pens, such as SmartWater or EnigmaTag. This will link your property to your home address. You may also register your property for free in immobilise.com just in case you want to have a chance to get it returned to you when stolen. You can tag all types of goods and items, even caravans and bikes. Second-hand traders use the Check MEND database before buying goods. You may also display immobilize sticker on windows and the main door, to deter burglars from breaking in.
  39. Take photos of your valuable properties to show to your insurer or the police if they are stolen. Engraving your name on computer equipment will make your equipments hard to sell.
  40. Use a fixed to a solid wall/floor safe for valuables, sentimental items and the items you can't live without.
  41. Your house number should be clearly visible for the police and fire services.
  42. It's not uncommon for thieves to peer through the kitchen window and read the notes left on the fridge or a calendar, A note such as "Things to do before you leave" can give them valuable clues when the house will be empty.
  43. Keep you car and house keys upstairs, right at the side of your bed during the night.
    You might not be insured if burglars use your keys to get in your house or steal your vehicle.
  44. If you are not sure who is knocking at your door, don't open it.
  45. When you are away, keep your phone's ringer down since burglars call you to see if you are home.
  46. Don't leave your shopping bags around and in the hallway. Thieves will take more of your goodies if they have enough bags.
  47. Eliminate any visible second-floor access to your home. Coat your house drainpipes with anti-burglar paint. Trim tree limbs and do not leave any ladders, picnic tables and chairs in your house back yard.
  48. Your garden could be the first step to get in your home. Hide garden or construction tools away. A crow bar can be a handy tool to break into any house.
  49. If you have installed a door entry system, make sure it is used property.
  50. Replace the peep hole with a camera. You don't have to get close to see who is outside. Or if you decide to install one, choose the one with fish-eye lens. Its wide scope will allow you to see anyone on your doorstep before you open the door.
  51. Install some inexpensive windows break alarms as a supplement for your current alarm system .These small gadgets work by detecting the acoustic signature of shattering, windows glass.
  52. Ground floor windows must be checked regularly and must be locked before you go to bed. As for upstairs windows they should be locked when you are away. Make sure windows locks are not visible from the outside; otherwise thieves think they are open. Windows handles should be multi-locking with a mounted key for additional security. You can get the appropriate locks for hinges windows from DIY stores for very affordable prices. Refer to the Master Locksmiths' Association for a trusted local locksmith. Louvre windows are particularly vulnerable as the slats can be easily removed from the window frame.
  53. Educate yourself about crime in your area and check who's been hit recently.
  54. If you are expecting your home or business to get burgled, buy some crappy goods such as laptops and leave them in the entrance. Most burglars just want to grab something valuable and get out quick.
  55. Invest in a good alarm and CCTV surveillance system. Make sure you use a company affiliated to an inspectorate body, such "NSI" or "SSAIB". You may also use a smoke cloak that scares burglars away by belching out thick, black smoke. If you have a CCTV surveillance system installed in your house, your can watch you house live using your computer, smart phone or tablet from anywhere you can get connection. Some start alarm system, such as The Canary smart alarm analyses changes in your home and alert your phone of irregular activities - including fire. Speaking of CCTV surveillance system, you or a member of the family might find it intrusive to personal privacy. If you cannot afford an alarm system, get fake alarm stickers and place them window.
    Don' t use obvious combinations such as 1234 or 0000 as your alarm code . This is the first thing intruders will try.
  56. Don't keep all your valuables in one safe or location. Separating valuables will prevent the loss of entire sets.
  57. If you managed to protect your premises against burglars by locking doors and installing an alarm system, you should look upwards and check if your premises are vulnerable to rooftop burglars: rooftop hatchways, air ducts and air vents should be covered by a securely fastened bars. As for glass skylights they should be fitted with either steel grill or burglary resistant glass. Ladders and trash containers should be always relocated indoors. You can also fortify the roof with a layer of zinc to make it harder for somebody to saw or ax their way in. A motion detector can also help by alerting the police if somebody breaks in from the roof.
  58. If you have a retail business, leave the till open and visible. If burglars are after cash, they will lose interest. If you are using a safe, make sure you fit a sensor inside it, so any attempt to open it will automatically trigger the alarm.
  59. If anybody comes to your door asking to use the phone to call emergency, mechanic or the police, keep the door locked and make the call yourself if necessary.
  60. When you are away on vacation, ask your neighbours to use your trash bins to make it look like you are still around.
  61. As for hiding valuables, use a safe only when it's too heavy to move and most importantly fire-proof. If you decide to use other less expensive alternatives, you can use the space behind a tile in the ceiling or even chisel out space in the top of the door. Or you can hollow the leg of table or chair for hiding small objects and then cap the legs with rubber tips. Avoid obvious places such as mattress, drawers, behind pictures and under carpets.
  62. Watch for unmanned drones used by burglars to identify potential targets. Some of these drones are highly manoeuvrable and they can carry high definition cameras. Large homes are usually the most likely target for burglars using drones. In case you observe drones being used in your area, contact your local police, using the non-emergency 101 number. Drones are usually noisy and can be heard from a distance.
  63. Finally, try not to flaunt your expensive possessions, such as jewellery or luxury watches when you are in public.

    It's always necessary to prioritize your health and safety before your home security. The harder you make it for thieves to get in, the harder it will be for emergency services. If you put bars on your windows, you put your and your family's lives at risk in case of fire. You may put bars on the windows of the first floor, but not one the second floor.

    Before leaving your home, make sure you shut off water main. A water leak could destroy and water log your home.

    Always remember that it's almost impossible to make your house or business break-in proof even if you turn it into a suburban fort.

    Try not to make yourself look like an attractive target: thieves break in mainly because of our predictable habits and complacency. If in doubt, look in the surrounding houses and adjust accordingly.

    If you can remove the opportunity, you may prevent the burglary.

    Look at your house the way a burglar does.

    Think like a burglar to beat the burglars.

    You can get a quote over the phone, or simply by sending us a brief description of your security requirements, using this form.

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