House in man's hands
House in man's hands

6 tips for keeping your home safe and secure from burglars

Liz Connor shares advice for outsmarting thieves and keeping your valuables protected.

Liz Connor
Tuesday 13 July 2021 08:45

Break ins are one of the most common crimes committed, so when it comes to protecting your belongings and your own safety, you can’t be too careful.

The good news is there are plenty of ways you can protect your home from opportunists and thieves – the first step in crime prevention is knowing your options.

1. Rethink your locks

A weak door gives thieves an easy point of entry, so adding a second lock can beef up your security.

Security expert Michael Fraser, speaking on behalf of 247 Blinds (247blinds.co.uk) says: “Most people only use a cylinder lock on their door, which isn’t very secure. Doors should ideally have a cylinder lock and deadlock and both should be used together for maximum security.”

It can take just 10 seconds for a thief to ‘snap’ a cylinder lock (the process of breaking and manipulating it to gain entry), so think twice about how you lock up your property while you’re out and about.

2. Secure the windows

“If your double glazing has failed, it’s not only an eyesore, but it also makes your home a greater target for thieves,” says Louis McGee, north west area manager and glazing expert at Cloudy2Clear Windows (cloudy2clearwindows.co.uk). “Faulty double glazing can be easily spotted by potential criminals due to its telltale cloudy window panes, caused by gaps in the seals. It’s a clear sign to burglars your windows aren’t secure.”

Repairing cloudy double glazing is easily sorted with professional help. While your windows might already have locks, additional window locks can enhance your security and if you’re on the ground floor or basement level, you might want to consider adding window bars.

3. Let there be light

Motion-sensing lights can be a cheap and easy way to deter would-be thieves.

“Exterior lights fitted near the entrances to your home will automatically activate if someone approaches the property – not only does this provide an opportunity to alert you or a neighbour of trespassers, it’s also likely to spook opportunist thieves into trying their luck elsewhere,” says McGee.

“Interior motion-sensing lights are also an option and work in the same way as an outdoor floodlight. Simply screw a special motion-sensing bulb into a lamp or light source near your home’s entrances that will alert you if there’s any movement near your doors or windows.”

4. Set up a home security system

Home security technology is making surveillance more affordable and accessible than ever before and you don’t need to pay a security company to watch your patch while you’re away.

Doorbell cams like Ring (£123 down from £159, currys.co.uk) can help you keep track of who’s outside your property. When someone presses the doorbell, no matter where you are, an alert will be sent to your smartphone so that you always know who’s at your house.

Often just the sight of outdoor cameras can deter thieves. There are a range of smart CCTV systems available from the likes of Blink (blinkforhome.com) and Yale (yalehome.co.uk) giving you plenty of options. 

We also like the Google Nest Cam indoor (£89, argos.co.uk), which alerts your smartphone when it picks up motion in your house while you’re not there – sending you clear footage of the incident. It also has a microphone that can listen for sounds like glass being broken.

5. Lock down your wifi details

Your wifi router can also be vulnerable to thieves who want to capture your data and passwords to gain access to financial information. To make your router secure, it’s advisable to change your router username and password, using a combination of letters and symbols. You should also change your generic network name, as it gives thieves information about the type of router you’re using, which they can exploit to get access.

We also recommend making sure your router firewall is enabled, as this adds a first-line defence against potential digital attacks. You can do this by entering your router’s IP address into a web browser (it should be detailed on the router box), logging in and changing the security settings.

6. Keep your valuables out of sight

Keeping your blinds open in the day with a tempting view of laptops, tablets and expensive jewellery makes it easier for a burglar to scout out your home.

“The best way to keep your valuable possessions safe from prying eyes is to make sure nobody even knows they’re there for the taking,” says McGee. “Leaving expensive items like jewellery, electronics or cash in plain sight makes your home a much bigger target for thieves, as you’re guaranteeing there’s something worth stealing on your property.”

The same can be said of leaving our digital footprint wide open too. “Burglaries are often strategically planned and social media is the perfect way to gain insight into your life,” says security expert Tom Tahany at Blackstone Consultancy (blackstoneconsultancy.com). “It goes without saying that you should be careful about sharing where you live, but sharing your location whilst you’re out can identify you as a target, so be sure to check your privacy settings before posting.”

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