It’s a sad fact that burglaries tend to spike over the summer months, as many of us leave our homes empty as we head off on holidays, or become relaxed about leaving windows and doors open when we chill out in the garden or try to beat the heat.
No one likes to think about becoming a victim of crime, but there are plenty of simple steps you can take to help avoid becoming another statistic this summer. Small tweaks around your home can help deter any would-be thieves, and make your home less of a target.
There are lots of ways of making your garden work for you when it comes to making your home less attractive to burglars. In the front of your home, what’s key is avoiding creating areas where people can be hidden from the street, so low planting and hedges are key. In the rear of your property, the opposite is true - high hedges and fences will help keep people from getting in to your garden, while spiky plants and brambles can all deter opportunistic thieves. Only a small proportion of burglaries happen with the thief coming through the front door - the majority are seeking unlocked windows and doors, which means coming round the back.
If you are able to use gravel instead of paving, the noise will help fend off intruders. A landscape gardener can help add hedges and planting to your home, while a driveway paver can help lay gravel that will last.
If you’re keen to add an additional layer of security to your home, you could consider installing an alarm system. The scale, complexity and cost of a security system can vary widely depending on what you want, from comprehensive integrated systems that alert a monitoring company, to simple camera systems you can install yourself and monitor via an app on your phone. The quality of home cameras has improved leaps and bounds in recent years while prices have fallen, making them more accessible than ever. If you want something more substantial, speak to a security system specialist who can talk you through your options.
If your doors have a simple deadbolt, or your windows are single glazed, then they might not pose much of an obstacle to someone determined to get in. Locksmiths don’t just deal with replacing locks after a break-in, or help when you lose your keys - they can help beef up your existing locks and make your entryways more secure. Similarly, a window fitter can upgrade your windows, which can bring additional benefits.
Gates and fences
If thieves do get into your home and find your car keys, then it’s easy for them to take your car as well. If your car isn’t generally kept in a secure garage, a good way to make it more difficult to access is to make sure you have a lockable gate on your driveway, adding another layer of frustration for any thief. Anything that makes targeting your property too much effort to bother with will help keep your home safe. A tradesperson can help boost your driveway security. A gate or fence can also be a useful addition is you have access to your garden at the side of your home - while it's usual to have a door, that can easily be climbed with a handy wheelie bin. Consider adding an additional panel above the door to make access even harder - or even simply adding a bell or wind chimes to the door so you can hear it move.
If you keep bikes, tools, or even furniture lying around in your garden, they can all be an attractive prospect for thieves looking to get in and out quickly. Some will even use tools - especially ladders - to get into a home if they have a chance. Keep your items inside a secure shed and remove any opportunity. A handyman can help you build one in an afternoon.
Thieves prefer to operate when they can’t be seen, so don’t let them lurk in the shadows. Lights with motion sensors can help illuminate the overlooked areas around your property. Meanwhile, inside your home you can use timers on your lights to create the impression that your house is occupied, even when you’re away. An electrician can help with adding external lighting.
While there are many ways you can protect your home with practical changes and additions, ultimately a little common sense is one of the best methods of protection you can have. Ask a friendly neighbour to keep an eye on your home if you are away, make sure post won't be visible if it piles up on your doorstep while you're on holiday, and take care announcing any trips on social media and advertising that your home will be empty.