How to protect your home from burglars – 20 tips from scuseme Cambridge

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Things you can do to protect your home from burglars

The 2015/16 crime statistics revealed by Cambridgeshire Constabulary reported over 600 burglary cases across the county an increase of 130 on 2014/15. I read frequent headlines in the Cambridge News about local burglaries and thefts. With the average house in Cambridge valued at nearly £400,000 and the average salary £31, 000, Cambridge is tempting for burglars.

20 tips from scuseme

FACT: 47% of burglaries are spur of the moment and not pre-planned, they’re opportunistic. If a potential intruder happens to walk past your property, don’t be an easy target.

1. Gravel the path / driveway

2. Use timers to switch lights and radios on and off when you’re not at home.

3. Install outside lighting with infrared motion sensors

FACT: Most burglars will try the front door to start, then the first floor window, then the back door, followed by the garage and the basement.  Burglars will look for ‘hidden’ spare keys or simply kick the door in or remove it from the hinges. Don’t make access easy.

4. Replace rotted door frames with new, solid wood.

5. Use door and window locks – dead bolt locks, bars on windows, and pin locks in sash windows.

6. Lock sliding doors and windows.

Little hint:  To stop a sliding door from opening, even when it’s unlocked, put a curtain rod in the track at the base.

7. Replace or secure doors with glass panels with deadbolts that can only be opened with a key.

FACT: Burglaries spend on average 10 minutes in your home. They specifically target homes that look easy to get in and out of. Don’t be attractive to burglars.

8. Trim or prune plants that could provide cover and if you plant hedges near you home, consider ones with thorns.

9. Lock ladders away

10. Join a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

Little hint: If a thief does get into your house, you can prevent loss of your valuable objects by making them hard to find within 10 minutes. The dresser drawer, bedroom closet, and freezer are some of the first places thieves look, so forget about those hiding places and consider hiding valuables in plain sight. Consider within books, games boxes, cereal boxes or false bottom drawers and safes which our handymen can build.

FACT: Only half of burglars are strangers. The other half are familiar to or well known by the victim.

11. Only invite traders you can trust into your home. See article on trustworthy flyers

12. Do not indicate whether you are away or not when you change your status on social media

13. Be careful when location tagging images on social media.  Only share your holiday highlights when you return.

FACT: The majority of burglaries are committed by someone living typically within 2 miles of you and take place between 10.00 am and 3.00 pm.

14. Vary times for some out of house routines; e.g. shopping, dog walking, exercise classes.

15. Schedule services you use such as window cleaner, and gardeners, to come during prime theft hours.

16. Become friendly with your neighbours – they are the best people to keep an eye on your property, put bins out when you are away etc.

17. Set a random timer to turn on your TV or radio on during prime theft hours.

FACT: Burglars no longer want to steal televisions and sound systems. They are more likely to be looking to steal car keys and even your personal identity data. It’s more beneficial for a burglar to take documents, laptops, passports and bank cards to sell your personal data from them.

18. Install trackers on your technology equipment.

19. Have copies of your passports and all other important documents

FACT: Burglars don’t like dogs

20. Get a dog

Little hint: If you don’t own a dog get a “Beware of the dog” sign, but also add some supporting evidence of dog ownership, like leaving a dog bowl outside by your side door.
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Protecting their territory

Dawn Giesler, is the founder of Scuseme Cambridge, a recommendation website that helps your family run smoothly. She has lived in Cambridge for over 20 years and offers advise based on her own experiences. For more information please visit: scuseme