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Direct Alarm Systems - Protecting your home

Protecting Your Home

The latest Home Office statistics show that over 2,300 burglary offences took place on the Wirral alone, in the year April 2002 - March 2003. Even though this figure is below the national average, it is no consolation to the 2,300 families that became victims of the burglars.

The Home Office figures also show that properties with little security are 15 times more likely to be burgled than those with good security.

Whilst the police will continue to do all they can to apprehend the people causing this misery, there are some simple measures you can take to help prevent your home being burgled. Not only will they decrease the chance of your home being burgled but may also help to reduce your insurance premiums.

1. Get an intruder alarm fitted

Intruder alarms are the main deterrent to an opportunist thief. If you have an alarm installed in your house, it is much less likely to suffer from a burglary than a similar property without such protection. Before deciding on an installer, speak to your insurer, as they may insist that you use only certain companies. They may also offer a discount on your Contents Insurance premium.

2. Lock all doors & windows

If you are going out, make sure that all external doors and windows are securely locked. This should be done even if you are just popping out for a minute.

3. Get the right locks

Use good quality locks and, more importantly, use deadlocks on all the main doors. Deadlocks need a key to open them from the inside as well as the outside, so burglars cannot open these doors to remove your property. Fit key operated locks to all windows, and remove the keys from the locks. Burglars do not like having to break glass because of the noise it makes, and can leave forensic evidence. Check that the locks meet any requirements that your insurer may have.

4. Look after your keys

Don't leave your keys in an obvious place. Keys displayed on a hook or a table, especially near an outside door or window, or under the mat, are easily found by burglars. Keys have also been stolen using the "hook & cane" method. Most burglars enter a house through a window, but by leaving keys around you provide an easy opportunity for burglars to exit through a door and most probably with much more property. It is equally important to make sure you can still get out of the house as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency, such as a fire. Make sure you have an escape route, and access to keys for that route.

5. Leave some lights on

Lights play an important security role inside and out. When you go out at night, leave the lights on with curtains drawn, particularly in rooms where the thief might expect you to be. For additional effect you can leave the television or radio on as well. The noise they make will help create the illusion that you are at home. If you do not wish to leave the lights permanently on or are going on holiday, you can purchase programmable time switches to come on during times when you are usually at home. External security lighting can put burglars off, and also provide pleasant lighting for those evening barbeques for example. Make sure the lights are installed so as not to disturb your neighbours.

6. Keep electrical items out of view

Ensure that televisions, videos and other valuables are not in view from an accessible window. Computers are particularly attractive to burglars, as they may contain personal information such as bank details, which they can use to commit fraud.

7. Stop thieves getting into your garden

Make sure the fence is at least 2 meters high. Adding trellis to the top of a fence makes it much more difficult to climb over. Keep gates shut and padlocked where possible. Make sure your shed is securely locked. Keep power tools, mowers and other valuable items firmly secured in a garage. Wire the garage to your alarm system and make sure you add an alarm box to the garage so a burglar knows the alarm is also fitted to the garage.

8. Mark your property

Mark important and expensive possessions with your postcode & house number using special security markers. Keep a record of the items marked, plus the make, model & serial numbers of all your electrical equipment for reference. This won't necessarily deter a burglar but it will help you if one breaks in and you have to make a claim. Also if the police recover property after a burglary, it will be proof that they are stolen - and that they are yours.

Lastly. Many homeowners undervalue the property that they keep in their home and garage so check that your home contents insurance policy covers you for the correct amount. You should also consider getting expensive items listed separately under your insurance policy. It is possible that Insurers who see that a policyholder has taken preventative action will see them as a better risk and may even lower their premiums.

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