Police have reported crime has fallen by 28% since Lockdown, with significant drops in burglaries. Despite this, thefts are still happening and here are some tips to protect your valuables at home and in your car.
Protect your home from burglars
Make your house look lived-in
An occupied house is not an easy target; vacant houses allow for increased noise and time, so are preferable. If you’re out during the evening, keep your lights on and keep the TV or radio, making it appear someone is home. You can use smart plugs to set timers which can link to your mobile phone for controls. Smart timers have a much better time scheduling in modern times, allowing for varied time patterns.
Secure the property when you leave
Make sure all windows are closed when you leave the house or on safety latches. Secure all sheds and garages. Tools are valuable, but can also be used to force entry to your home. Burglars are unlikely to bring a ladder but use yours to gain entry to higher levels. Also, consider what locks you have on outbuildings as three-barrel variants are not covered by insurance.
Keep valuables out of sight
The opportunist thief will look through windows, so do not leave valuables in plain sight. Car keys, wallets, phones, smart devices, laptops, are all easy targets. The perfect bounty is lightweight and resellable.
Don’t give easy entry
While it may be convenient to leave spare keys in a safe place, burglars will check under doormats or flowerpots for quick entry. This could also void your insurance cover. Also in summer months, be mindful of what windows and doors are open even when you are home. Be alert if people come to the door and always ask for ID before allowing entry. Also, be aware that someone at the door can be a distraction technique.
Create Neighbourhood watch schemes
With local communities having greater access like Facebook or Whatsapp groups, the sharing of information can be very helpful in the fight against crime. With the emergence of affordable home security, there is increased CCTV coverage and communication can be vital to stop door-to-door con men. Your direct neighbours will likely overlook your property, meaning it is easy to extra vigilant for unusual activity. Don’t assume all burglaries happen at night.
Secure your property when going away
Before going away, it’s always worth taking extra care to secure all windows and doors and to remove all window keys. Hide all valuables where possible. If your direct neighbours overlook your property, ask them to keep an extra eye out. You could get friends to check the property for you.
Security mark your property
Using a UV pen, you can mark valuables like laptops, smartphones, tablets, and games consoles. It won’t be visible to the naked eye but can help identify and may help police to return any stolen items to you.
Protect your Vehicles from theft
Always secure your vehicles
It’s easy to leave your car unsecured when paying for petrol or nipping back into your house. It only takes seconds to steal a car, so always keep it locked.
Close windows and the sunroof to prevent entry
In warm weather, it’s always tempting to leave windows open a small gap or the sunroof open. Just be aware that it is possible to hook a coat hanger round door handles.
Secure number plates with security screws
Stolen number plates can be used to change identities of cars or to avoid speeding tickets. Use tamper-resistant screws on your vehicle’s number plates to make it harder to remove.
Secure alloy wheels with anti-tamper wheel nuts
Stolen wheels are a valuable commodity as parts or scrap value. locking wheel nuts reduces the risk of these being stolen.
Remove valuable goods or hide in the boot
It’s quick and easy to smash a window and grab phones, handbags, purses, wallets, sunglasses or even shopping bags. Securing these in the boot or in a locked glove box limits the opportunist thief.
Hide evidence of electrical items
Sat Nav mounts or cables is a giveaway that there could be Sat Navs, smartphone or other valuable devices in your car. This could warrant a break-in, and even if secured away would still leave a costly window to replace.
Reduce Tool theft from vans
This is commonplace and can really impact self-employed tradesman’s ability to work. Thieves will target vans where they think tools may be left overnight. A good tip is to heavily mark the tools with your company name to make reselling harder.
If possible, store tools in secure lockable cabinets which are heavier to remove. And consider internal CCTV in the van and registering equipment on property registry sites.
Park vehicles in well-lit and busier areas
Expert thieves can break into a car in seconds. You can reduce risk by parking in well-lit areas and busy streets, which will put off thieves.
Don’t leave documents in the car
Registration and insurance documents enable thieves to sell cars quickly while pretending to be the owner.