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How can you reduce your chances of being burgled?

Being burgled is one of the most distressing experiences a person can go through. Whereas a home is meant to be a safe haven and a place where you can relax, this crime can shatter this feeling and leave you feeling vulnerable and on edge.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your chances of being targeted by burglars, many of which are inexpensive and simple common sense measures.

Perhaps the key message to stress is that burglars are not master criminals who spend hours hatching elaborate and complex plots to break into a property. In the vast majority of cases, they are opportunists who want quick and easy access to a house, so they will exploit anything that offers them precisely this.

It’s worth carrying out a risk assessment and sizing up your home in the same way as a burglar would. Then you can see for yourself if there are any weak links when it comes to security.

Lock doors and windows

Doors and windows are obviously the easiest ways for burglars to gain entry and make a swift exit. If they have been left open, a criminal can slip and out in a matter of seconds without making a noise, so make sure they’re kept locked at all times – even when the house is occupied.

Of course, a thief could enter more forcefully, so it’s a good idea to have good-quality locks, while using toughened or double-glazed glass in your windows could make it harder for them to smash, and reduce your risk of being burgled.

Don’t leave valuables on display

Leaving possessions near windows often attracts burglars. The sight of valuable items, wallets and car keys by the window is like a red rag to a bull – and a relatively simple picking for any thief. So make sure your wares aren’t on display and can’t be seen from the street.

Keep your house well-lit

A burglar wants to slip into a house unobserved, so they’ll almost certainly not target properties with plenty of lighting. Installing motion-activated lights outside your home is a good idea, as they’ll be triggered if a thief is trying to approach covertly.

There’s plenty you can do inside the house as well. For instance, always leave a few lights switched on if you’re heading out of the house or going on holiday. In addition, purchase a few timers so you can set lights to switch on and off at certain times. Together, these measures can create the illusion that a property is occupied – and put any burglar in two minds about whether or not to strike.

Secure your garden

Burglars don’t need to get inside your house in order to steal something of value. Our gardens are full of expensive equipment and tools, from bicycles and children’s toys to lawn mowers and spades, so make sure sheds and garages are securely locked. It’s worth remembering that heavy duty gardening tools might be useful to a burglar who wants to gain entry to the house as well, so don’t shirk when it comes to security in your garden.

Many of these steps are common sense precautions that won’t break the bank, but can offer invaluable peace of mind to any household. The more difficult you make it for thieves to strike, the more likely you are to avoid being burgled.

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