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Planning Retirement Online


Basic Steps Against Winter Burglaries

September 2019

Burglar getting in through window
There is a sense of violation after a burglary

I bet you have noticed! The days are now beginning to get gloomier and the nights are getting darker.

Winter is around the corner and along with the colder weather, we will be entering peak burglary season. A third or more of all break-ins occur between November and February, a time when burglaries occur at the incredible rate of seven every minute.

After any break-in, whether you have lost a lot or a little, there is a sense of outrage and intrusion into your life. Your attitude to being safe in your home changes; so it is well worth it at this time of year to step back and take a little time to consider security.

Today there are all sorts of high tech gadgetry around to help protect your home, from motion sensors to automatic security lights and dog barking alarms to top specification security cameras that can show you all aspects of your house inside and out wherever you are in the world. But for many of us, we don’t go away a lot and we just want to keep things simple and affordable.

At this level, the police and other security agencies offer some sound basic advice that is worth taking on board:

  • Restrict access. The police advise looking especially at the rear of your property, an area often overlooked in security. Fit a lock to any side gates leading to the rear as back or patio doors are the most popular site of forced entry. Also, it is well worth thinking about planting some protective plants such as holly or thorny bushes along the garden fencing. Fitting trellis to the top of fences making them higher offers great extra security, not because they are secure, but because they are a nuisance. Making it difficult or uncomfortable for burglars to enter will usually act as a sound deterrent and they will move on to find an easier target.

  • Lights. Making your home look occupied even when you are out is a very strong deterrent to most burglars, and today you can buy very affordable and easy to fit timers for light switches or security lights that will switch on at pre planned times. You can also buy fake TV lights; these give a flickering impression that someone is in and watching television.

  • Curtains. Pulling all your curtains shut may keep out the sunlight, but it will also be clear after a day or two that the house is unoccupied. Best to keep at least some semi open.

  • First floor entry. We generally think of burglars entering through doors or windows downstairs, but many burglaries are committed after thieves have found an entry point on the first floor. Burglars know that upstairs windows are often less secure; all they need is a way of access. So look around the garden before you leave and lock away any ladders, garden furniture or even wheelie bins that can help burglars scale up to the first floor.

  • The garden. Tidy the garden as much as you can before you go. A cut lawn and tidy garden indicates people are around so make it look as neat and as cared for as possible. Also, trim trees and bushes immediately in front of the house. Ensuring burglars have nowhere to hide while they break in is a very good deterrent.

  • Social Media. When you are away, it is great to share experiences and pictures, but be aware. Sharing too much personal information when away can lead to inquisitive burglars checking your profile settings and then finding out a mass of information that might sometimes lead to identifying your home. Before going away, double check your online preferences, profile and security systems.

  • Driveway and paths. An unused driveway can be a good indication of absent home owners. If a neighbour can occasionally park their car in your drive, this can be a real help. If you go away a lot, you might want to consider changing your paths and driveways to gravel or shingle. These are low maintenance, look great, and are a big put off for burglars because of the noise they make.

A lot of it is common sense, including of course not letting post or deliveries stack up on your doorstep – that is where neighbours come in so handy. If you go away for long periods, then it is probably well worth investing in some of the high tech security systems available. But even when you are popping off just for a weekend, as winter approaches it is well worth taking some basic precautions to ensure your precious home is not broken into while you are away.

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