Are burglaries more likely to be pre-planned or opportunistic? Undoubtedly many burglaries are committed by opportunists making a spur of the moment decision due to an easy target presenting itself. But burglars are becoming increasingly ‘professional’ and some will spend time planning and observing potential targets beforehand. Whether opportunistic or planned, burglars know all the hiding places to look in once they’re in your property and it doesn’t take long for them to help themselves to your valuables. So making your property less attractive to burglars in the first place makes a lot of sense. 6 ways to increase your home security 1 Install an intruder alarm Burglars don’t want to be seen or heard which is why an intruder alarm system is an effective way to deter them from targeting your property whether it’s your home or your business. There are several different types of systems available but one of the most effective (deterring up to 94% of burglars according to one study) is a monitored intruder alarm. They can operate in slightly different ways but essentially while sounding a bell or siren to attract immediate attention they also alert key-holders and /or an alarm-receiving centre who’ll then decide on the right course of action to be taken (like calling the police). Always check beforehand that the installer and monitoring station are recognised by the police if you choose this type of system. Whichever system you go for there’s also the visual deterrent of the bell box on the front of your house. If you’ve gone to the effort of installing an alarm it makes the burglar think twice about what other security measures you may have in place – and whether their payback will be worth the effort. 2 Install good quality locks – then use them! If your windows or doors (including garage and shed doors) have poor quality or badly maintained locks you need to think about replacements. It might just be a new lock that’s needed but if the actual window or door is in a poor state it’s worth replacing it with ones certified to the relevant British Standard. Sorry if we’re now about to point out the obvious – but you also need to remember to use those locks! One window left slightly ajar is all a burglar needs. Lock garages and sheds so tools and ladders can’t be used to break into your home. Secure back and side gates too with a strong padlock and while you’re at it, put wheelie bins behind those gates so burglars can’t use them as a mobile platform to gain access to more windows. 3 Don’t give burglars anywhere to hide Burglars do not want to be spotted! While you should keep the boundaries high at the rear of your property to restrict access, keep them low at the front to reduce hiding places.  Cut back any vegetation that could give a burglar somewhere to hide too. If you’re replacing your driveway at some point, consider gravel. Not only is it a good choice for the environment but it’s impossible for someone to walk over it quietly. It’s also worth considering increasing visibility at night by installing external security lighting. There are many options available including low level dusk till dawn lighting or motion triggered lights. 4 Hide your valuables Don’t draw attention to your property by leaving valuables on display. It’s always worth security marking valuables and sentimental items with your postcode and house number or name. Take photos of any items that can’t be marked like jewellery. You can also register items with serial numbers at Be careful with keys too – keep house, window and car keys hidden out of sight. But do make sure house and window keys are quickly accessible to you in case of fire. 5 Think about CCTV cameras Many CCTV systems for domestic properties are inexpensive to install and can be a major deterrent for burglars. If intruders think their every move could be recorded they’ll think twice before attempting to break in. 6 Make your house appear occupied Do what you can to make your house look occupied. Use light timers in a few rooms to create the appearance that someone’s at home. Don’t leave your curtains closed during the daytime but do remember to close them at night whether you’re staying in or going out. Once your lights are on and it’s dark outside it’s easy for burglars to see into your property. And remember if you’re away for any length of time ask a trusted neighbour or family member to keep an eye on your home and pick up your mail from the floor – it’s an obvious sign to a burglar that you’re not around. If you’re concerned about keeping your property secure and would welcome some advice then please do get in touch with us for a chat over the phone or for a free no obligation visit.