DAVID Cameron's announcement that householders will be given protection to fight back against burglars has been nicknamed 'batter a burglar', but clobbering the criminal isn't necessarily the only way to protect your home from potential break ins. Eona Powell of Chesterton Humberts gives her top tips on how best safeguard your home.
An empty house is an open house – For a burglar an empty home is a call to action, so it is important to make sure there are no tell tale signs that you have left it unoccupied. This can be achieved by using timers to turn on lights, radios or televisions, but if you are going away for a longer period of time you might want to consider stopping your mail and moving wheelie bins out of sight. Even better than that is to actually have someone house sit. Chesterton Humberts also offers a vacant management service to check the property every fortnight.
Spare keys – That 'secret spot' under your doormat or flowerpot might not be quite as secret as you think. Not only is it normally the first place burglars would look for a key, there is also a danger that you could be seen retrieving it. Instead, make sure you hide them somewhere untypical and more than 15ft from your front door, so think less rocks, mats or flowerpots and instead try flowerbeds, trees or (if you have one!) a dog kennel.
#goneawayforweek – Desperate to tweet the hotel to tell them how excited you are about your holiday plans? Unfortunately for potential burglars social networks can provide a calendar of criminality, as they can find out when people are leaving their homes unoccupied. Be careful what you upload to twitter and facebook; if you wouldn't want a burglar to read it simply don't post it.
Robbery in the shrubbery – Burglars don't just need to break into your home, they have to get out again and the more places for them to hide, the better. If you trim back shrubs near doors and windows, they are forced to exit in plain sight. Alternatively you can invest in cacti!
Lock and roll – Burglars are often able to break into a house without actually 'breaking' in, thanks to homeowners leaving their doors and windows unlocked. In the time it might take you to 'pop to the shops' a burglar can easily find a route in, take what they need and leave.
Make sure you invest in quality locks for your doors, including side and garage doors, and then remember to always lock them before leaving the house.
Alarm yourself – It might seem like an obvious one, but if you want to alarm potential burglars then an effective method is a burglar alarm. If your house is broken into, the criminal is much more likely to be caught, but alarms also act as a deterrent meaning burglars are unlikely to try their luck. Any other methods that can draw attention to potential invaders such as motion sensor lights and outdoor security cameras will also make your home a much less likely target.
Love thy neighbour – Becoming friends with your neighbours always pays dividends when it comes to protecting your home as it benefits both parties to look after each others' property. You can ask them to keep an eye out whilst you are on holiday, pick up your newspapers or mow your lawn, so that your house looks occupied. Just make sure that you return the favour when they go away!
If you would like to talk about letting your home, you can contact Eona on 01935 811 909 or Eona.firstname.lastname@example.org