October is National Home Security Month, a annual campaign to raise awareness of how we can protect our homes and battle break ins. Use these expert home security tips and advice.
1. Ring the alarm
If you want peace of mind that your home is properly protected in your absence, installing a burglar alarm is key.
Not only can home security systems help to prevent burglary by acting as a deterrent, they can also give you and your neighbours the chance to take action quickly if the worst does happen.
There's a wide range of alarms to choose from on the market, but the most important thing is to pick one that has been approved by your insurer – and turn it on when you leave the house. In a recent survey of 4,000 Brits, only just over half of people were aware that their contents insurance wouldn't protect against theft if the alarm wasn't turned on.
Once installed, choose a code that can't be easily guessed, and change it regularly.
Burglars can use a hook device to steal keys from inside the house
2. Get locked up
Research conducted last year has found that 22 per cent of burglars get in to the house either through an unlocked door or window, so it's vital to ensure they are locked whenever you're not at home.
If you want some extra protection other than the standard lock, look at what's on offer in your local area. One example is the London Bar, a specialist lock and reinforced door that protects the door against being kicked and visibly deters burglars.
A qualified locksmith will be able to inform you about the best products on offer, but for your front and back door it's wise to fit mortise locks to add protection.
All windows should have approved locks on them. Most home insurers insist that you keep these locked to ensure any claim on your contents insurance has the best chance of being met.
3. Keep your keys safe
It sounds obvious, but make sure you don't leave your keys or valuables in sight. Burglars are often opportunists and will be attracted to what's on display.
Laptops, mobile phones and other expensive technology should be kept out of sight of windows. If you live with children, make sure they know to keep their gadgets out of view. The police also recommend putting expensive jewellery and passports in a safe.
Finally, keep all keys out of sight from passers-by and away from your letterbox. Burglars can use a hook device to steal keys from inside the house. Plus, if you leave car keys in the house, make sure they are safely hidden.
4. Be clever with lighting
Security lighting can act as a major deterrent for burglars. Installing external security lights outside the home will help put off intruders and can help alert neighbours or passers-by should someone attempt to break into your home.
External lights should be placed where it is difficult for intruders to reach or designed so that they are suitably protected. This will prevent them being tampered with.
It's also worth looking at light timer-systems, which can be set to come on in the evening, giving the impression that you're at home. These can be particularly helpful if you live in a quieter residential area.
5. Get friendly with the neighbours
Neighbourhood Watch is the UK's largest voluntary movement, bringing together people across the community to help improve the security of their local areas. Being part of it will help you to get to know the people in your local community and you can work with police to ensure that your area is protecting itself against common crimes.
If you don't want to join a scheme then getting to know your neighbours is advisable, as they may be able to keep an eye on your home when you're out of the house or on holiday.
Thanks to Swinton Insurance
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