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Simple home security measure can be the most effective

Seven steps to making your home secure

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Burglar in house with torch

As a home security company, Crown Securities UK is not going to try and persuade you that a home burglar alarm system is unnecessary.

We honestly believe that you and your family are better protected with a professional alarm system in place, and we trust we are the company that can best serve your needs.

But we are not naïve enough to believe everyone is as concerned about home security and crime prevention as we are.

Nor do we think that all homeowners, even those with intruder response alarms fitted and working, are as security conscious as they should be.

So here are few tips about home protection that could help prevent you and your family becoming the next victim of a burglar.

The advice comes from our knowledge the most common mistakes made by homeowners who have been hit by thieves and the information and guidance of police forces and crime prevention agencies across the UK.

  • 1. Lock your doors. You may only be popping down to the shops or going next door for a neighbourly chat, but an unlocked door is an open invitation to an opportunist thief. It stands to reason; an opportunist theft only happens when the opportunity presents itself.
  • 2. Keep windows secure. Burglars like windows; they are easier to open than doors, are more likely to be out of view and, best of all, have transparent glass so the would-be thief can see if the coast is clear. Never go to bed leaving downstairs windows open and, better still, get some simple locks to make sure they cannot be prised open at night.
  • 3. Hide your door keys. Many homeowners will keep house keys near the door for easy access. Never place keys where they can be easily seen and certainly not near the letterbox. It will take a second for a thief to snap a smartphone photo of your keys and use the image to create a duplicate set.
  • 4. Buy the best locks. Too many people try to bag a bargain when buying locks — don't. Buy the best you can afford. You get what you pay for. A cheap lock won't look such a bargain when that expensive new TV set has vanished.
  • 5. Turn the lights on. Nothing is more inviting to a burglar than a darkened house. Leave your home well lit while you are out or away. Timer devices on lights are ideal as nothing will deter a would-be thief more than seeing an interior light suddenly switched on or off.
  • 6. Keep the house alarm activated. If you do have a burglar alarm system then for goodness sake use it. Some people only activate the house alarm when they are out. There is no reason to think that a burglar will not attempt a break-in while you are asleep or even while you are watching TV.
  • 7. Take holiday precautions. Don't advertise your absence from home. Piled up newspapers, letters, milk and other deliveries are an open invitation to a burglar. Mow the lawn and tidy the garden before you pack your holiday suitcase and ask the neighbours to keep an eye on the property while you are away.

Just a few simple precautions can greatly increase your chances of keeping your home free from burglary. Thieves will always target homes that look unoccupied; this can include homes with no car in the driveway, overgrown gardens or few signs of life.

Next in line for thieves are homes that are obviously unprotected. A burglar alarm or CCTV camera is a distinct and clear sign on 'guardianship' and surveys show that burglars will give a wide berth to a house that shows visible signs of protection against intruders.

Statistics also show that those most at risk from thieves are previous burglary victims, the elderly, those living alone, students and low-income families.

These are just the sort of people least likely to have invested in sensor alarm systems or taken appropriate measure to deter criminals.

Those homes that have been targeted once can expect a return visit. Thieves know only too well that victims of a burglary will have replaced stolen good with brand new items presenting yet another opportunity to make a quick killing.

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