My partner and I have recently moved into our gorgeous new home with our adorable little baby. We love our new neighbourhood, we have friendly neighbours and nearby we have parks and a good selection of local shops. The perfect place for a young family to live.
So, when a community support officer informed us there had been an attempted break in just a few doors down we were in total shock. What shocked us more was that this incident had occurred during the day and it really got me thinking. When I hear of things like this happening I always think it will never happen to me, but this time it could have been me. I wondered whether it was by chance the intruders chose a neighbouring house to try to break in or whether our house was better protected?
How do burglars break in?
There are many different entry and exit points that burglars take advantage of such as:
- Windows - An open window, or single glazed windows on ground floor are a welcome opportunity for intruders
- Doors - The most vulnerable part of a house is the back garden and burglars will target the back door rather than the front door
- Gardens - The back garden is the most vulnerable point as it affords an intruders privacy.
- Most break ins occur during the day, not at night, when people are at work!
How can I improve our home security?
Fortunately there are many things we can do to protect our home and they needn't cost the earth, here are our top tips.
Garden security - the most vulnerable point of entry
- If you have a solid, sturdy, wooden back gate swap it for a wrought iron gate. These are much harder to climb and an intruder can be seen through it. Also, make sure it is securely attached as an intruder may simply try to remove the gate if they are unable to climb over.
- Keep all your garden tools locked out of sight. Garden tools such as a spade is a perfect tool for an intruder to gain entry into your home.
- Make sure your sheds and garages are secure; these are a popular target for intruders as they often contain many hundreds of pounds worth of items such as lawn mowers, tools and sports equipment. Remember if your shed or garage is broken into whilst you're in, you might not be able to hear it.
- Placing a trellis, barbed wire or even climbing roses on the top of your fence can prevent even the most athletic of intruders being able to climb over. Make sure that what you use on top of your fence is not able to withstand the weight of a person, that way if someone attempts to climb over, your fence will break making a lot of noise (and maybe injury).
- The front door should be fitted with a good 5 lever mortise deadlock
- Your back door is particularly vulnerable so make sure, like your front door, it is fitted with a very strong lock
- Ensure that your patio door, if you have one, has a multi-locking system
- Invest in double glazing if you don't already have it, these will not only improve your home's energy efficiency but also make it harder for intruders to break in
- Leaving a few interior lights on when your house is unoccupied is a great way to deter intruders by making them to think people are at home, remember to draw curtains if going out at night so they can't look in and check for people inside
- Exterior lighting such as a passive infra-red system which activates when someone comes near are also a very effective deterrent
- Keep valuables such as handbags or laptops out of sight from prying eyes
- If you do live in an area that has a high incidence of burglaries it's well worth investing into a security alarm
As you can see it's not too hard to protect your home. The improvements may cost you some money but your home's security is hopefully worth the cost. Just by being aware of the risk of burglary is the first step, not leaving valuables in plain sight or any windows open or unlocked when you leave your home will make a huge difference.
How risky is my area?
You can use our free neighbourhood statistics tool to find crime statistics on your area. Just tap in your postcode and click search and we will tell you all sorts about your local neighbourhood including recent crime stats. Or you can take a look at our heat map of crime in London.