Security Matters: How to keep your property safe this winter

Home security is a big issue for all of us

Home security is a big issue for all of us - Credit: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing

The nights are closing in and many of us are turning our minds to home security.

If only we had a handy list of hints and tips to remind us how best to keep our properties safe!

Luckily, with October being National Home Security Month, Harrison Murray Estate Agency and the Nottingham Estate Agency (both part of the Nottingham Building Society) have issued one such list.

Network Property Sales Manager Richard Bocock said: “It is important to adopt a practical, common sense approach in assessing safety measures in your existing or new home, which can be a target for opportunist thieves.”

Here’s how they suggest you do it:

• Lighting

Consider installing motion-sensitive lighting fixtures above front doors, porches, garage doors and entrances to back gardens. Fit timers to indoor lights when you are out for the evening or going on holiday.

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• Codes

If you are moving into a new property, familiarise yourself with the alarm and set a new passcode. And above all, don’t forget to use it!

• Locks

Securely bolt or padlock side/back gates. Fit window locks to all downstairs windows, and to easily accessible upstairs windows. Remove any ladders that could be used to gain access through upstairs windows or a flat roof.

• Be letterbox aware

As vehicle theft becomes more sophisticated, and often to order, thieves turn to letterboxes to obtain keys. Make sure you put these and other valuables out of easy reach and sight of the front door.

• Valuables

Put your mark on valuables with a UV pen - a discreet way to identify your items if they are stolen.

• Sheds

Many sheds are used to store cycles, garden equipment and tools. Ensure you have a sturdy padlock on your shed door. The same goes for your garage.

• Vision

If possible, don’t allow the front of your home to be obscured by trees or hedges that may provide hiding places for thieves.

• Personal information

Don’t get caught out online. Be careful about what personal information you divulge on social media. Opportunist thieves often turn to Facebook and Twitter to target unsuspecting victims, so don’t divulge information regarding your whereabouts. And never reveal that your property is empty.

• Neighbourhood Watch

Be a good neighbour and join the local Neighbourhood Watch group. If you are new to the area, this is also a great way of getting to know your neighbourhood and meeting new people.

• Insurance

Ensure that you have adequate home and contents insurance.

A range of security tips and advice can be found on the National Home Security Month website.