Do you Live in a Burglar-Friendly House?
|It’s the last thing you want to hear when you’ve just been burgled but the awful truth is that if you’ve been burgled once you’ll probably be burgled again. In fact it’s likely to happen another four or five times. Why? Because some of us have “burglar-friendly” houses.
|Burglars think that the bigger the house the richer the owners. “You can’t do much about the size of your house,” says Professor Pease of Huddersfield University, “but if it’s large, you need to be even more careful than if it’s small.”
|You should take a good look at your house – – not as you normally do, but as a burglar would. If you were a burglar, which home would you choose to rob, – a house with a shiny new car parked outside or one with an old vehicle? Anything which signals nice possessions and money will certainly catch the burglar’s eye.
|People may complain about their nosy neighbours, but there’s no better way of stopping burglars than having watchful neighbours around. If a house is far away from others, or hidden from the road, it is more attractive to burglars, who think they can get in and out without being noticed. So a burglar alarm is a good idea. And remember, you may get privacy from a tall hedge or a high wall – but so do burglars.
|Ian Stephen, who works with the Scottish prison service, believes that you’re more at risk if your house looks nice. “Window-boxes, nice curtains and beautifully painted walls all tell the burglar that you’re proud of your home and care about your possessions and are more likely to have nice things in your house,” he says. He advises people to try to make their homes look as plain as possible and not to draw attention to any new things they have bought by leaving the empty boxes next to the dustbin.
|People often leave a light on when they go out. “But be sensible,” advises Ian Stephen. “Don’t leave a light on in the hall as it never makes the burglars believe that you’re in. Have you ever heard of a family enjoying an evening at home in the hall? Leave it on in the living room.” An open window is also an open invitation to burglars. If you sometimes forget to shut and lock doors and windows, stick a note on the inside of the front door to remind you. And make sure any ladders are put away and not left outside where burglars can use them.
|By leaving newspapers and letters sticking out of the letter-box, or full milk bottles on the doorstep, you are giving burglars the green light to break into your home. Similarly, if you’re away from the house at regular times – out at work or doing the shopping – then your home is also in danger of being burgled. Ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your house at these times.
|It’s a good idea to take photos of your valuable possessions. By doing that, if you’re burgled, you’ll be able to identify stolen property, which could lead to the thief being put behind bars. It is also possible to label valuable items such as TVs and videos with your postcode. If they are stolen, this will make them easier to find. One more good idea is to ask for a crime prevention officer to visit your home and identify weak points in its security.
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