Burglary is often an opportunistic crime, if a burglar sees a chance they will nip in and out quickly and be away before anyone has noticed. So the main thing is to make the outside of your house visible from the road. Burglars don't like to be watched while they are trying to break in!
- Install an outside light with a sensor. It may help burglars see where they are going but it will also make sure they are seen by your neighbours or passers-by.
- Cut back bushes from windows and doors. By doing this you'll make sure there is nowhere for burglars to hide if they are disturbed.
- Keep fences low. Although high fences initially make it difficult for burglars to get into your garden, they offer great hiding places and shield them from view. A lower fence topped with trellis work is a good compromise as it is more difficult for burglars to climb over while still offering privacy.
Burglars don't like noise either. They don't want to draw attention to their nefarious actions.
- Put gravel paths around your house. Burglars find it difficult to walk quietly on thick gravel.
- A barking dog may annoy your neighbours but it will certainly deter burglars. Given a choice they will chose a dog-free household.
- Install a visible alarm system. It can even be a dummy the burglar won't know when he is sizing up the property from the road.
The main deterrent to a burglar is the thought that someone might be in the house. Very few burglars will relish the prospect of a confrontation.
- Leave a light on if you go out. Although burglars are well aware of this trick, they will still favour a house in darkness over one with a light on. Low powered LED and Fluorescent bulbs available now mean that this doesn't have to cost much, even if you go on holiday.
- If you do go on holiday, you have probably remembered to get someone to feed the cat, but perhaps you haven't remembered to ask them to clear your backlog of mail out of sight. It is also wise to ask them to put out your bins on the usual day, even if there is nothing in them. All of this will help give the impression that you are at home as normal.
- Leaving a radio on works much like leaving a light on, with the added advantage that it works in the daytime too.
- Many house burglaries take place in the daytime, while the householder is at work. If your home is unoccupied during the day, you could leave a note by your door for the postman which reads "Please do not knock, I work night shifts." This will deter burglars from breaking in during working hours, and, after all, you wouldn't have been there to sign for the parcel anyway.
- Don't under any circumstances leave a note saying that you are out, even if it says, 'Back in 5 minutes.' That is all the time a burglar needs.
Following these tips may not eliminate the risk of a break-in completely, but it may help lessen the chance of a home insurance claim, and the considerable distress and inconvenience of a burglary.
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