How to avoid being an easy target for thieves
As the fairy lights continue to twinkle, and the Christmas cheer remains, the unpleasant thought of your home being broken into is probably at the back of your mind. But did you know that January can be a prosperous time for burglars?
The combination of dark nights, shiny new gifts and the increased chance that you’ll be out visiting family and friends means you should be brushing up on your home security skills – think of it as one of your new year’s resolutions!
Here are our top five tips to avoid becoming an easy target for thieves this winter…
1. Lock it down
Making sure your doors and windows are secure is a no-brainer year-round. But it’s of particular importance during the winter months, when the increased number of darker hours means there’s more time for any unscrupulous types to take advantage.
A quick refresh: Ensure your doors and windows are strong and sturdy, and that you’ve installed decent locks. Your main external door should either have a five lever mortice deadlock, or a lock meeting British Standard BS3621. Plus, given the extreme winter weather we often experience in the UK, check your external doorframes for rot, as this can make it easier for burglars to break in.
As for windows, locks that secure the actual frames together are recommended, rather than locks than only secure the handles. Ground-floor windows can be particularly vulnerable – planting some prickly bushes below them can act as an extra deterrent!
2. Sound the alarm
Ok, this one is obvious – a well-fitted burglar alarm can stop an intruder in their tracks, and there are many different types to choose from.
Bells only alarms are the most common type, and they trigger a loud noise that’ll scare away crooks, as well as your neighbour’s cat. Wireless alarms that use individual sensors throughout the home are also popular, and many modern alarm systems can also capture CCTV footage of any trespassers, and send the images to your phone or computer.
Whichever alarm you choose, remember to change up the code every now and again for extra peace of mind.
3. Light 'em up
An inexpensive way to deter burglars is to install security lights on the exterior of your home – after all, the last thing they want is to be seen committing their crimes! In particular, motion-detection security lights will illuminate anyone lurking in the shadows of your home.
Plus, outsmart any dodgy types by using timer switches on your interior lights – when you’re out of the house, they’ll give the impression that someone’s home and make thieves think twice about trying to get in!
4. Root them out
Speaking of your property’s exterior, be careful not to neglect your garden and general outdoor space: Having a high wall or fence can keep those pesky perpetrators out, and it’s important to always remember to securely lock your gates, sheds and garages.
Also, store away any tools and household items that may make a burglar’s job very easy, such as ladders and wheelie bins!
5. Make new habits
They say old habits die hard, and January’s a great time to make some new ones!
While it’s common to place your rings on the windowsill while doing the washing up, or leave your keys on a hallway table, you should never leave your valuables on display, or within easy reach. Make it as difficult as possible for opportunistic bandits to take advantage, and store them well out of sight. And, no matter how many times your teenager has been locked out, never keep spare keys under your doormat!
Another new habit you should get into is not fully closing your curtains when you go out. January brings new year celebrations, and catching up with any friends and family you might’ve missed over the festive period. While you’re away from the house, keeping your curtains or blinds slightly open in some rooms can give the impression that someone’s home.