Fortify Your Home (It is your castle after all)

Fortify your home (it is your castle after all)

Door stop: Most criminals break into houses through the door, either by forcing the lock or kicking it in. Make sure your door is up to the job, has a British Standard 5 lever mortice deadlock and consider fitting a bar for extra strength; a locksmith can advise you on how best to do it. 

Through the looking glass: Glass panels on doors are particularly vulnerable. If you have one on your door you could replace it with laminated glass, which is stronger. You can also buy a film in DIY stores that you can stick over the glass to make it harder to break. 

Through the square window: Windows are also vulnerable to attack. Home security and DIY shops sell inexpensive, key-operated locks to fit most kinds of windows. Fix window locks with keys to all downstairs windows and those upstairs that are easy to reach. 

Trim your bushes: Eliminate any potential places for burglars and intruders to lurk. Be sure to keep large bushes and shrubs away from windows. 

Get prickly: Plant thorny shrubs, such as rosebushes, beneath ground-floor windows as a prickly intruder deterrent. 

In or out?: Leave a radio on and, even if you haven’t got a four-legged watchdog, a ‘beware of the dog’ sign, an artfully placed dog’s water bowl and some chewy canine toys can dupe dog-avoiding opportunist thieves. 

Time it right: Rather than loading up the car the night before a weekend getaway, quickly do it in the morning right before you leave. Left in front of the house, a fully packed car can serve as a green light for those looking for an empty property to target. 

Make it a habit: Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you're just out in the garden, remembering to double-lock UPVC doors (lift handle and turn key). 

Be a good neighbour: Arrange with trusted neighbours to keep an eye on each others’ properties and consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. 

Be the key master: Hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight and away from the letterbox (a device could be used to hook keys through the letterbox). 

Get hi-tech help: Install a visual burglar alarm, good outside lighting, internal light timers and invest in a motion-sensor home security system that lets you monitor your home with your smartphone. 

Be a guardian of your garden: Make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition, secure bikes by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage, keep ladders and tools stored away; don't leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home. Ensure side gates are locked to prevent access to the rear of the property. 

Make it your own: Take photographs of your property and valuables, write down serial numbers of valuable items, use ultraviolet marker pens to write your postcode and house number, or even try liquid forensic coded solution – this is a special forensically coded liquid that you can paint over your possessions that is visible only under ultraviolet light. Each batch of the painting solution is made specifically for just one customer – so items can be identified very easily.

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