As we approach the warmer months of the year, many of us will be getting out in the garden for a tidy up, and maybe starting to leave windows and doors open as we carry out a spring clean. While the better weather is to be welcomed, it can also mean more opportunities for passing thieves to take advantage of easy entry points to your home.
According to John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Network, most home burglaries are carried out by opportunist passing criminals, rather than because the property has been identified as a target in advance. Therefore, a few simple security measures can go a long way to protecting your home and possessions.
Hayward-Cripps explained: ‘Most domestic burglaries are committed by opportunists. Opportunity plays a big role in enabling burglars to commit a crime. They look for homes that seem unoccupied, have little or no obvious security, have doors or windows left open, or where they think they won’t be seen.”
He continued: ‘Taking simple measures such as locking windows, leaving indoor lights on a timer, double locking your doors and leaving exterior lights on a sensor setting can greatly reduce your chances of being burgled.’
The advice about keeping your windows and doors locked may seem obvious, but many people leave their doors unlocked during the daytime if they are at home and their bedroom window open at night.
Even if your windows are on upper floors, an opportunistic burglar may use whatever is to hand, such as a wheelie bin or a fence, to climb in or grab valuables that are on view by reaching in through the window. Ideally, all windows should be locked and external doors double or deadlocked at night.
Another important point to remember is to always tidy away garden tools into a locked shed or garage at night. This is because an opportunistic burglar may use a blunt instrument such as a spade to break locks or windows, or force a door off its hinges.
It is a good idea in general to keep the exterior of your property in a good state of repair and looking neat and tidy. Passing thieves are often attracted to poorly maintained houses that might have loose doors or windows. They may also assume that there are few if any security measures in place, such as motion sensor lights or burglar alarms.
Neighbourhood Watch recommends that all exterior lights should be on a motion sensor, as burglars dislike the risk of being seen and are likely to be deterred by an outside light suddenly switching on. Putting your interior lights on a timer is also a good idea if you are out or away overnight a lot.
If you are going away it is always a good idea to let your neighbours know so that they can keep an eye on your property, and offer to do the same for them.
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