Beat the burglar
Most burglars are not master criminals. They're usually young men looking for an easy opportunity to get into a house without being seen.
Once he's been in and got away with it, he may be back again unless you do something. And there's lots you can do. Don't rely on one or two precautions. Here are some tips that will help you beat the burglar!
Outside - your first line of defence
- Walls, gates and fences - High fences are hard to climb, but they give a burglar cover once he's over. So keep them low. The best have a trellis on top, making them difficult to climb. And make sure to lock any gates to prevent access to the side or rear of your property.
- Hedges and plants - Prickly bushes and hedges around a garden can act as a deterrent to a burglar.
- Lighting and driveways - Get an outdoor light with a sensor that comes on when someone's around and don't underestimate the deterrent of a gravel drive. It makes quite a noise when walked on and can deter burglars.
Is anybody home?
- Lights - You can get plug-in timers for your lamps - and timers for your ceiling lights. Don't just light up the hall. Fool a burglar by lighting up the landing, bathroom, bedroom and living room too. Really fox him by varying the times each light comes on.
- Sound advice - Use a plug-in timer for a radio - make it a talk station rather than music.
- Windows - Remember to shut all windows, even small and upstairs ones, when you leave the house, in your garden or in the rear of your property. If you're upstairs, close your downstairs windows and if you're planning some time away, get a trusted neighbour to shut the curtains at night . You could return the favour some time!
Help yourself - get equipped
The Council doesn't insure your things. But we do provide the best value home insurance around. To get insurance companies you need some security. So get fitting.
- Mortice locks - Your front and back outside doors are thick enough for a five-lever mortice lock. Make sure it's British Safety Standard BS3621.
- Window locks - The strongest type for a wooden frame does not involve any of the window catches - it pulls the window onto the frame with a key. Fit two locks on a big window and remember to take the keys out once they're locked.
- Double glazing - The safest double glazing has bolts that shoot into the frame for extra security. Laminated glass is better than toughened because it stays in place when it's smashed - slowing a burglar down. It's safer for kids too because toughened glass shatters into tiny bits.
- Patio doors - Make these safer with a purpose-made lock or a security bar.
- French windows - If both parts of your French windows open, and you only fit a lock to one - the other is a weak point. Consider mortice bolts for the top and bottom of each door. Fit them into the frame - not the other door.
- Keys - Keep spares with a neighbour, friend or relative. Never leave keys in the door or within sight of the letterbox and don't take the risk of leaving them under plant pots or ornaments outside your property.
- Dogs - Don't rely just on your dog to protect your home. Council tenants need permission to have dogs in certain types of property.
- House alarms - When alarms sound, most burglars grab what they can and run for it. Whichever type of alarm you choose, get a professional fit it.
Coded for keeps
- Ultra-violet marking - UV marker pens cost about £1 from stationers and security shops. Use them to put your postcode and house number on the bottom of your valuables. If your things are found, the police can read your details under UV light and return them. Redo this every year as the writing fades and sticker your house to let potential burglars know that you've done this.
- Photographs - For small items like jewellery, photograph them against a ruler. A picture is worth a thousand words.
- Immobilise - Electrical items, mobile phones and jewellery have ways digits that can ID them, like a serial number. Make a note of these numbers, photograph them and upload them to the Immobilise Website, a free service that is regularly checked by the police when they recover stolen goods.
Gardens and sheds
- Shed security - Remember to postcode anything of value in your shed. Your lawn mower will be harder for the burglar to sell on with your house number and postcode painted across it. Make sure you cover any windows too, this prevents burglars seeing any valuables inside.
- Padlocks - A good quality padlock - and the hasp and staple that go with it - is important on all sheds and garage side-doors. It's best to bolt the hasp and staple to the door and frame for extra strength.
- Screw heads - Smear glue over the heads of screws or use anti-tamper screws.
- Bicycles - Lock bikes to something fixed or bulky like a ladder or workbench.
- Garden tools - Don't leave them lying around the garden, a burglar could use them to break in. Home Watch Protecting your home is fine, but you will enjoy greater security and peace of mind if everyone around is working with you. An enthusiastic home watch scheme will deter burglars. Contact your local police station for help setting one up.
Want more advice?
Contact your local crime reduction adviser on 0161 872 5050 or head to the Governments official crime reduction website.
Remember. . . prevention is better than cure.