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Nobody ever likes to think that their home could be a target for criminals, but you can never be too complacent.  These days, it pays to be that bit extra vigilant and adopt a few measures to ensure that any would-be thief is deterred from going anywhere near your property.

A person breaking into a home via the window.

Get a security system

One of the most important strategies to protect your home from unwanted intruders is to install a decent security system.  It needn’t cost a fortune, but it’ll give you peace of mind that your home and its contents are secure.  When a burglar is faced with the choice of trying to enter an alarmed house or a non-alarmed house, it’s a no-brainer as to which will be the favoured target.

Watch the windows

Make sure that cracked or broken windows are fixed, so that they don’t provide easy access to burglars.  Always close and lock windows when you go out, even upstairs ones.  Many a thief has the skills and nerve to shimmy up a drainpipe and through an open upstairs window.  Be extra vigilant in hot weather.  Even if it seems a good idea to throw all the doors and windows open in your baking conservatory, whilst you potter in the garden, be on guard in case an opportunist thief sees a quick steal.

The lived-in look

Houses that look empty are prime targets for thieves, so when you do go out, make it look as though someone is still at home.  Set lights to come on timer-switches at different times of the day, and leave the radio or TV on.  Installing outside security lighting is also worthwhile when considering ways to secure your home.  But have a good look around first at different alternatives.  Some lights are triggered by motion, so can be set off when an animal walks by.  Heat sensitive lights are better as they are sensitive to human body temperature.

Keep valuables safe

Don’t leave any valuable-looking items in areas of your home that are easily seen from the outside, such as windows or a front-facing conservatory, as this is only dangling temptation in front of a burglar’s nose.  But, also, avoid hiding valuables in obvious places, such as under the bed or in the biscuit barrel.  Store personal information in a safe or drawer with sturdy locks, as identify theft is big business these days in the criminal world.

Be aware of what rubbish you leave outside your house to be collected. Empty cardboard boxes can be a telltale sign as to the contents of your home, and if it’s a box that had a new computer or a TV in it, then a prospective thief could think he’s hit gold.

Neighbourhood watch

If you’re not already part of one, then why not get a few of the neighbours together to form a local neighbourhood watch scheme?  It can benefit everyone involved and create a sense of community.  Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property when you go on holiday and remove the mail from the porch area, and offer to return the favour when they go away, too.

Photo by Eastlaketimes.