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According to a survey by Tesco Compare, you are six times more likely to be burgled without window locks and double locks on your external doors.
It is essential to lock windows and doors whenever you are out, even if just for a few moments. Ideally, outside doors should have three locking points. Mortice locks add extra security while deadlocks, if you have them, should always be employed as they are much harder for thieves to deal with.
Patio or glass doors should also be locked, both at the top and bottom. These usually require special locks but your local DIY store should be able to advise.
Burglar alarms come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can act as a serious deterrent for burglars. Bell-only alarms are the cheapest option, but can often be ignored by neighbours or passers-by, so it may be worth investing in a more sophisticated system.
A monitored alarm, though more expensive, sends a signal to a call centre when triggered. The monitoring firm will then call for a password to check all is well. If no password is obtained, the operator will contact either the keyholder or the police.
Another option is a speech dialler - cheaper than the monitored system, it works by calling pre-set numbers and leaving a message when the alarm is triggered.
Whatever you choose, it is advisable to check that the installation company you employ is registered with either the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) or the National Security Inspectorate (NSI).
Two things that opportunistic thieves love are darkness and easy hiding places. Make your home a less appealing target by installing outdoor lighting, either the kind that detects movement or a low-level, low-energy constant light that will deter potential thieves.
Walls and solid fencing might seem like a security must but these, along with trees and shrubs make for handy hiding places for burglars and allow them to break in without being seen. Trellises with prickly shrubs make for an excellent alternative.
Also be sure to lock away garden tools and ladders that could be used to force entry.
Garages are a tempting source of items for thieves and may even offer an easy entry into your home.
To avoid alerting thieves to your absence, always keep your garage door closed and locked, whether you are home or not, and if your garage contains windows, install frosted glass so that thieves cannot tell whether your car is there.
If your garage adjoins the house, install a peephole in the door separating the two so that you can check on suspicious noises, and install high quality locks. Another handy trick for attached garages is to tighten a C-clamp on the track next to the roller on the garage door when you are at home. This will ensure it cannot be opened from the outside.
Other handy tips
If you are going away on holiday or are away from home for a long period of time, employ the use of timers to switch your lights on at certain times, giving the impression that you are in the house. An unanswered ringing phone can also be a giveaway, so it's worth turning the tone down before you leave the house.
It is unwise to leave your spare keys in the garage, shed or under the doormat! Either give them to a trusted neighbour or friend, or wrap them in foil, place in a can and bury them somewhere inconspicuous but memorable for yourself.
Most importantly, always check the ID of any caller at your home.
If you are in any doubt as to how and what to do to make your home more secure, check with your local police force. Many are happy to help and can provide home security assessments free of charge.