28 Aug

Spruce up home security ahead of autumn's arrival

Spruce up home security ahead of autumn's arrival

We may not have officially emerged from summer yet, but the evenings are already getting darker and Last Night of the Proms is almost upon us - and that can mean only one thing: it's nearly time for another autumn.

Homeowners will be making lots of preparations for this often cool and rainy season already, such as varnishing garden furniture and giving guttering a clean-up. However, it is important not to forget security, as darker nights are a prime opportunity for burglars to strike.

New analysis of Office for National Statistics data by Churchill Home Insurance has found that there are approximately 11,620 household crime offences reported every day in England and Wales, with an incident such as theft or burglary taking place every seven seconds.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, properties are more likely to be vulnerable in urban areas than in rural locations.

Churchill spokesperson Martin Scott underlined the fact that these figures shouldn't serve to frighten people - in fact, crime rates have been going down over the past few years. However, they do indicate that it's vital not to be complacent.

"It is important that householders are aware of the potential threats to their homes and take the appropriate precautions," he added.

With this in mind, here are some of the best things you can do over the coming weeks to make your property more secure.

Add more security measures

Burglars are opportunists, so making it really hard to get in will put them off. Put good locks on your front door and lower windows and install an alarm if possible. Locks on side gates and ensuring trees are cut back so there's no cover for thieves will also be worthwhile. Don't forget to lock your garden tools away either - a ladder and pliers could be all a burglar needs to climb to the first floor and break in.

Keep the place tidy

Research has found that unkempt properties may be more susceptible to crime, so add a lick of paint to the exterior, give the front door a good clean and fix anything that has been broken over the summer months. Don't neglect to tidy rubbish like cardboard away either, especially if it suggests you've recently made an expensive purchase.

Make it look like someone's home

Dark rooms with the curtains open and piles of post behind the door will make it obvious you're out for the day or weekend, providing the ideal time for burglars to strike. Use light switches that have timers to make it appear as though you're in at night and fit vertical blinds that can be tilted so it's not as obvious there's no movement inside. You can even set the radio on a timer by the window if you like, so anyone getting close will hear voices and be put off.

Don't broadcast things on social media

It's tempting to boast about your days out on Facebook, but a recent study carried out at Perth's Edith Cowan University and the Australian Institute of Criminology found that burglars do use social media to target houses for theft, so resist the urge, even if you have raised your privacy settings. Talk about it when you get back instead!

Make friends with your neighbours

Having an ally next door will allow you to keep tabs on each other's homes. If they're going away, arrange to move their mail, draw their curtains and perhaps even park on their drive to give the illusion of someone being around - they can do the same for you when you need it.

All of these tips are simple yet could make a big difference in preventing your home falling victim to crime this autumn.ADNFCR-1222-ID-801745150-ADNFCR

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