As the dark, winter months come rolling in, it’s time to think about home security and how we can ensure extra safety precautions for both family and property. The festive season is renowned for increased burglaries with the onset of dark evenings providing perfect cover and ample opportunity for thieves to thrive in. There are many things one can do to thwart or divert criminal activity, and often it’s the small things that delay their efforts that make them give up and go elsewhere. Following some simple guidelines can mean the difference between a nasty (and often costly) experience and peace of mind so here’s a few tips on how to make your home a safe haven this year.
Lights and locks
By far, the greatest deterrent to burglars are strategic lighting and well secured locks. While most of us are conscious of electricity bills, keeping lights on at night only costs pennies and not pounds. Most people make the mistake of leaving a light on in the outside porch or hall area, but thieves need to know you’re actually at home, so leave a light on in your living room and kitchen. Check all your locks and bolts and make sure that they are working. Locks to side doors, windows and sheds also need to be monitored. Never leave your keys in plain view or in places thieves are sure to look; under the mat or in a plant.
Heading away on holiday
Many people travel over the Christmas period and homes are left unattended. If you’re taking a trip, cancel any regular subscriptions like milk or newspaper deliveries. Inform a neighbour and ask them to park a car in your driveway and regularly check the house. If you don’t have neighbours, ask a friend to open and close your curtains so it looks like the house is occupied. As social media fans we tend to share everything we do these days but police always advise we don’t post details of a pending holiday, even if your friend list and privacy settings are secure.
Basic home security measures
When is the last time you checked your burglar alarm and if you have outside lighting, is it working? CCTV cameras are still one of the best anti-break-in items on the market and installing specialised timing devices are well worth the effort too. If someone knocks on your door late in the evening, use a peep-hole to check who they are and if you haven’t got one check from an upstairs bedroom window first. Avail of the many neighbourhood watch schemes and have numbers saved in your mobile phone. Don’t make things easy for thieves by leaving side entrances and garage or shed doors unlocked, and if fencing needs fixing get on it right away. Many people feel that a pet dog is a great security investment as prowlers of the night tend to give up once they hear barking.