What is the best way to prevent my house being broken into?
As the saying goes 'an Englishman's home is his castle', it is never a pleasant experience to be the victim of burglary and the feelings of insecurity and vulnerability can have devastating consequences for you and your family. There are however a number of simple practical steps that you can take to prevent you being the victim of crime.
The first is to make sure that your doors and windows are locked. This does not just apply to when you are out or away from home but also during the times that you are at home. It only takes a few seconds for someone to reach through an open window or door and steal what is in easy reach. If your door or windows are locked then this prevents this type of theft completely. During the warm summer months you can put modern windows onto vent and lock them so that you still get a cooling breeze but a passing thief cannot open them.
Fit British Standard deadlocks to all outside doors and reinforce them with strong bolts, preferably ones that are key-operated an fit British standard window locks to all windows not just on the ground floor but near to flat roofs and drainpipes as well.
Fit a security chain and wide-angle door viewer or spy-hole to your main door so you can check who a caller is before opening the door. Check the identity of callers you don’t know by calling the number for their company in the phone book. Make use of password schemes operated by most of the utility companies, with these schemes, you set a password that the representative must give when they call, so you know they are genuine.
Don't leave your house or car keys in easy reach, such as on a hall table or hook near the door. Thieves will make implements using fishing rods, canes, hooks and magnets to steal your keys through your letter box which then potentially gives them access to your house or car. Make sure your keys are out of site or inaccessible.
There are numerous after market products available that make you property harder to break into but there are also some simple tricks that will also deter criminals. Loud crunching gravel paths and drives, particularly underneath windows or around doors will alert you to prowlers as will good quality security lighting, also take the time to look at your property from the road, are there blind spots behind trees or shrubs that criminals can make use of to hide their actions, trimming these back may just deter them. There are many third party resources such as The Crime Prevention Website who can give you specific advice on locks and other security measures.
You might also consider securing valuable items inside the house such as in locked cupboards or even a safe and if you can't secure your valuables then make sure they are marked so if the police find them we can get them back to you, there are lots of security marking options available. A really simple tip is to use the camera on your phone or tablet to take a photo of your valuables and a photo of the serial number on the back along with any identifying marks; store these on the cloud on services such as Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud and you will have a safe record of your valuables if needed.
Finally don’t advertise you are not at home leaving notes for delivery drivers can alert thieves that you are away and also leaving porch doors open so that someone can pop a parcel inside is an obvious encouragement to criminals.