Simple ways you can make home secure

A stout new lock could stop a burglar in his tracks, saving you heartache and anguish
A stout new lock could stop a burglar in his tracks, saving you heartache and anguish

LETTER OF THE DAY: Housing - more needs to be done

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It will never happen to me. For many people that is the unspoken assumption when it comes to burglary.

And it can lead them to not really consider if they are doing all they can to protect their homes.

The number of break-ins rose by 3.6 per cent in Portsmouth last year and, while the police do an excellent job tracking down the culprits, prevention is always better than cure.

It doesn’t take hundreds of pounds and a home that is shut up like Fort Knox to deter potential thieves – there are some easy steps you can take to make yours a much less attractive target.

On the Hampshire Constabulary website it says: ‘Most burglaries are committed by opportunist thieves and two out of 10 intruders will enter the property through an open door or window.

‘It is very difficult to make your home totally burglar proof but you can defeat most burglars.’

And to aid in this effort Streetwise has teamed up with to compile some top tips to make a burglar think twice about trying to get inside your home.

n Ensure you lock all windows and doors before leaving the house and that your locks are in full working order.

Locks have a limited lifespan and if yours have seen better days it will be easier for a thief to get in.

A top-notch lock can also reduce your home insurance premiums.

· Keep valuable items away from the window; you know when you walk past a shop window and spot an amazing top and simply have to have it?

Well, the same thing happens to thieves, only it’s your window and your laptop.

Thieves don’t want to spend hours in your home hunting for things, so if you go a step further and hide your jewellery, laptops, cameras, and MP3 players they are less likely to get nicked.

· Don’t leave your keys somewhere obvious.

Thieves may watch your home before they strike so if they see you sticking a spare set under the doormat they’ve got an easy way in.

Also watch out for enterprising thieves who will hook your keys through the letterbox if they are left close enough to the door.

· Install an alarm. A professionally installed and maintained alarm will not only improve your security, it could also lower your home insurance premiums.

If you can’t afford one, get a fake alarm box fitted; it will make thieves think twice about trying to break in.

· Make sure your house doesn’t look empty when you’re away.

Set your lights on timers to come on at various intervals if you are away so your home appears occupied.

And if you can ask a neighbour to come round and make sure post and junk mail aren’t sticking out of your letterbox then even better.

· Install security lighting and lay down gravel.

If a thief approaching your house is suddenly lit up like a Christmas tree or makes a noticeable crunching sound every time they take a step they will think again about what they are doing.

Burglars prefer easy targets, so simple security measures like these can have a big effect.

· People often forget that gardens are also at risk.

Planting a low hedge at the front of your home can prevent thieves hiding from view and a sturdy six-foot fence at the rear – possibly coupled with some tall prickly bushes – can help keep people out.

Securing your shed and garage with good-quality locks is also an important precaution.

· It’s also crucial to prepare for the worst, so make sure you have adequate insurance to cover any losses should you be unfortunate enough to have your home broken into while you’re away on holiday.

Finding a home insurance policy suitable for you is easy.

Go to the various comparison sites or contact insurance companies directly for a quote.