DON’T MAKE YOUR HOME AN EASY TARGET FOR BURGLARS
Many burglaries are crimes of opportunity. A burglar only needs to spot an open window, unlocked side gate or dodgy alarm to make their move. Think about it – if you know your home security looks poor, so will a thief. Statistics show that properties with little security are 10 times more likely to be burgled than those with good security. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to secure your house and other property – and put off thieves.
Keep Your Home Safe
- Fit a good, regularly maintained burglar alarm – and turn it on when out or asleep!
- Install automatic security lights which come on at night when someone approaches
- Fit key-operated locks to all windows (burglars don’t like breaking glass because of the noise and the risks of leaving forensic evidence
- Fit deadlocks to all outside doors
- Don’t leave spare keys hidden outside (burglars know where to find them)
When Away From Home
- Make sure all doors and windows are closed – and locked
- Set the burglar alarm
- Leave a light, and the radio, on a timer for the evening so that it looks as though someone is at home
- Don’t leave spare keys dangling inside from the letterbox
- If you are away for some time cancel the newspapers and the milk
- Don’t leave valuables on view
- Don’t leave cash lying around
- Don’t leave car keys on view through the window or the letterbox
- Put a lock, preferably a padlock, on your side or back gate
Keep Your Car Safe
- Your car is a valuable item – it is safer in a locked garage than on your drive
- Keep it locked at all times even when garaged or just left for a few minutes
- Don’t leave valuable articles, particularly computers, sat-navs, i-pods, MP3 players and mobile phones on view. Lock them away in the boot, or preferably remove them altogether
- Fit a good quality alarm or immobiliser, or a tracker device
- Be aware thieves are seeking high value performance cars – often to use in committing crime - and will even steal your alloy wheels. Use locking wheel nuts
- Don’t leave your keys lying or hanging inside your home and close to your letterbox or window. Thieves will fish for them through the box and take the car.
- Get your windows etched with your reg number or vehicle identification
- When parking leave the vehicle in a well lit place where it can be seen by passers-by. Make sure it is locked. Preferably, use an approved car park, with an attendant, or security barrier
- At pay-and-display car parks remove the pay ticket from the car
Keep Your Possessions Safe
Keep your possessions safe. They may mean a lot to you but to the thief they are just an easy way of making money. Think of the inconvenience that you will suffer if you lose your mobile phone, i-player, or blackberry. What about all that important information and back-up files on your computer?
How inconvenient will it be if it is lost?
You may be able to replace your TV, dvd or your hi-fi but what about items of sentimental value?
- Buy a safe. Household safes are now readily available at very reasonable prices, at good security shops or DIY stores such as B&Q.
- Keep your safe out of sight and secure it to the wall or floor.
- Deposit all valuable items – jewellery, documents such as wills etc, and any cash
POSTCODE YOUR PROPERTY
Marking your property with your postcode can help police to catch the thief and for them to return to your stolen goods to you. Thieves find identifiable property dangerous to handle and difficult to sell.
KEEP A RECORD OF VALUABLE ITEMS
Marking things like jewellery or antiques is difficult and could reduce their value. You should get expert advice in these cases.
You can still protect items that can’t be marked by keeping a record of them. A simple and effective way of doing this is to photograph each item, preferably in colour, paying attention to any distinguishing marks such as initials or crests which you could use to identify the item. Take a photograph against a plain background and include a ruler to give an idea of size. Keep these photographs in a safe or a safe place.
Keep your shed safe
BEWARE OF BOGUS CALLERS
Most people who call at your home will be genuine. But sometimes people turn up unannounced with the intention of tricking their way into your home. They then distract you from what they are doing and help themselves to any money , jewellery or other small valuable items which are lying around. These are known as “distraction burglaries” or bogus callers. Distraction burglars come in all shapes as sizes. They may be dressed in a suit, appear like genuine workmen or be just casually dressed. They may claim to be from the council, the water board or gas or electricity companies. They can be convincing and persuasive. They may be men, women, or even children. They may wear “props” such as an identity card or wear a company logo. If you are expecting the caller, then check his identity very carefully before you let them in.
If you are in any doubt, KEEP THEM OUT!
Bogus callers can also turn up dressed as gardeners or builders and try and trick you into paying – often excessive amounts – for work that does not need to be done. You should never agree to having work done by someone who is just passing, or even take their word that something needs to be done at all. Do not be pressured into paying them in advance of doing any work, or accept an offer for them to drive you to the bank to withdraw money.
If you think work needs to be done then get quotes from trusted local companies ( two or three should be sufficient) or get a recommendation from a relative or friend. You can check with Coventry Council’s Trading Standards or a professional body.
If you are uncertain about a caller or do suspect a caller of being bogus, put the door chain on first before opening the door, ask to see their identity and carefully check it. If in doubt ask them to call back later after you have made a confirming phone call or simply to write you a letter with their proposition. Genuine callers will be happy to make an appointment to call and will carry photographic identification.
Report Bogus Callers to the Police
Bogus callers often work in pairs or even teams. They are often well organised. One will distract the person whilst the other searches the house. If you think a bogus caller has been to your house report it to the police immediately using the 999 emergency number. Try and write down a description of the person to give to the police. Make a note of any vehicle that is in the area that they might be using. Write down the registration number. Remember, if you don’t report it to the police they may visit other homes in the area.