|DIY : Building|
Most things that you can do are common sense, but they are the most effective.
One simple thing is to ensure that all doors and windows are locked when you go out. It sounds obvious but you would be amazed how many people forget to do this, and on a regular basis, too.
Ensure that all ladders and any potential tools are also well out the way too so as not to incentivise people to break in.
Closed curtains and security lights are also a good measure, and timed lights inside the house that come on as though someone is there. You could even consider leaving the radio on if out for the evening, for instance.
If you are going away for a while, then consider asking a neighbour or someone trusted to come in and open the curtains, and perhaps even move the cars on the drive - just in case someone is watching your house.
More security tips advice
To Fred's advice, I'd like to add the following:
Every police station has - or has access to - a local Crime Prevention Officer who will visit your home completely free of charge to carry out a 'Risk Assessment', and they'll also give you advice on how to make your house as burglar-proof as possible.
Having used this service myself, I would strongly recommend it as being very well worth half an hour of your time.
When I answered the door and invited the officer in, he said "I'd prefer it if you came outside first" - and from there, he asked me to imagine I'd just discovered that I'd lost my keys.
"OK, you're not a burglar, but if you absolutely HAD to get into your house in a hurry , tell me how you'd go about it".
That one simple question revealed a lot to me - there were around six very obvious methods of gaining entry to my house, and having identified them, he then explained a number of ways in which I could prevent entry via these routes which included decorative wire grilles, inexpensive alarms, and various locking mechanisms.
Our conservatory at the back was particularly vulnerable, and he showed me how to use a length of wood to prevent burglars "levering" the patio door out of its frame, and how to instal a simple lock which would do the same job.
In short, burglars hate both light, and noise - so investing a few pounds in movement sensor lights and alarms is very sensible.
Lastly, he gave me a free 'invisible' marker pen which I could use to write my postcode on various things like bikes, cameras, DVD players, and other valuables.
Only visible under a UV light, these markings can help to re-unite you with any stolen goods, as he told me that while the police recover millions of pounds worth of stolen property every year, there's rarely any way of easily identifying them.
All 'common-sense' tips perhaps, but the police can help you to see how a burglar would think about getting into your home, and from there, suggest some very practical ways of giving them a hard time, and stopping them from even trying.
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