Inside your house
Leave a light on
When you’re out or away, make it look like someone’s home. Leave a visible light on when you go out in the evening. You can use timer switches on lights and radios so they come on automatically. You could also consider buying a fake TV or TV simulator - you can get them in many local shops and DIY stores.
Protect your valuables
Don’t leave valuable items where they can be seen from outside. Take photos of valuable items and make a note of any serial numbers – keep them with your insurance policy. If you have a laptop, tablet or mobile phone you can install tracking software to help trace your property if it’s stolen. Some software can be downloaded for free.
You can also register valuable items online for free on Immobilise the national property register. This makes it easier for police to return stolen items to you if they’re found. You could consider fitting a small safe – you can get information about safes and other security products from Sold Secure.
Mark your property
Marking your property makes it difficult for burglars to dispose of stolen goods and increases the chances of them being returned to you if they’re recovered. You can do this in various ways:
- UV pen – your security mark shows up under ultraviolet light. These marks fade over time so reapply every six months
- etching or engraving
- specialist forensic kits that use synthetic DNA.
You can create your own unique security code by using your postcode, followed by your house or flat number, or the first two letters of the name of your house. So if your address is 21 Court Street and your postcode XY3 6DE, your unique security code would be XY36DE21, for example.
At the front of your house
You need good strong locks on your doors. If you have a wooden front door, it should be fitted with a five-lever mortice deadlock and a night latch or rim lock. A wooden back door should also be fitted with a five-lever mortice deadlock. All locks should meet British standard 3621.
A UPVC or a composite door (made up from a variety of materials) should be fitted with a multi-point lock with a Europrofile cylinder. If you use a cylinder lock, you may need additional protection such as a security door handle.
Close your windows
Burglars look for open windows or other openings. Even a small gap can be made bigger with an arm or a tool. Don't leave windows open when you're out - even if you're only in the garden.
Being part of a Neighbourhood Watch helps to deter criminals and shows that you’re security-aware. Join a scheme in your area or, if there isn’t one, you could consider setting one up. Your local Neighbourhood Watch can advise on security measures and they will be in close touch with your local police.
At the side and back of your house
Window locks are a good deterrent. Fit them to windows on the ground floor, above flat roofs or near a drainpipe. You can buy them from DIY and home security stores and they can be fitted to most types of windows.
Make sure you remove the keys from locked windows and keep them somewhere safe, out of sight, but where you can find them easily in case you need to escape in an emergency.
Only put your wheelie bin out on the day of a rubbish collection. It could be used as a climbing aid or even for transporting stolen items. It may also be vandalised. Store it securely, out of sight. You could consider securing it with a clamp or chain. Don’t leave packaging for expensive items out either.
Good outdoor lighting that comes on automatically is a powerful deterrent. It can also help you find your way if you come back after dark. You can get motion sensor lighting that’s triggered by movement or dusk-to-dawn lights that come on automatically when it gets dark.
Position lights at a suitable height so they can’t be tampered with and are less likely to be activated by animals or plant movement, and make sure the light won’t annoy your neighbours or distract passing cars. Lights should be fitted by a qualified electrician. Contact Trustmark to find one or ask your friends and neighbours for recommendations.