The experience of being burgled is very traumatic, and can leave both financial and emotional scars. The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to help prevent a break-in at your home. The first step is to carry out a thorough security assessment to help you decide which security measures are most appropriate for your situation.
Here are some tips to bear in mind when making an assessment of the exterior of your property.
- Check the perimeter security
The perimeter of your home can be overlooked, but robust fences, gates or other obstacles will make it more difficult for intruders to spot opportunities and to access your property in the first place. Arrange to have any gaps or damaged areas of the fence or boundary walls repaired.
A fence that is too low will be easy to climb over, so consider extending or replacing it. You will need planning permission for any fence over the height of two metres at the rear of the property, even if it’s just the addition of a trellis topper. It’s also good practice to discuss any changes with your neighbours.
The fence may be on a boundary and jointly shared with your neighbours, so if you are making alterations or replacing it, discuss it with them first to agree on a suitable option and how the costs will be shared.
Furthermore, a fence that fronts the road cannot be more than one metre high without planning permission. Also bear in mind that if you live in a listed property or a conservation area, you will need to apply for planning permission before making any changes at all.
Gates should be lockable from both sides, and ideally solid rather than made from metal railings that are easy to climb over. Do not keep items adjacent to the fence that will make it easier to climb over, such as wheelie bins or compost heaps.
- Boost external security with lights and cameras
Security lights that are operated by motion sensor control act as an effective deterrent for potential intruders because they greatly increase the risk of the crime being witnessed. In addition, the property should have low level night time illumination at all entry points.
CCTV cameras that are integrated with a digital device for monitoring can provide an extra level of deterrent and peace of mind. If the worst happens, the footage is also an invaluable source of evidence that could help you to recover any stolen property and see that justice is done.
- Keep the garden tidy
Opportunist thieves will often use tools that they find lying around the outside of a property to aid a forced entry. Keep all tools and ladders locked away in a shed or garage when not in use, and avoid installing heavy garden ornaments such as statues that could be lifted up to break a window or door panel.
Never leave a spare key hidden in your garden, no matter how secret you assume the hiding place to be. Professional thieves have seen it all and know where to look.
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