St Albans is a lovely area - but how burglar-proof is your home?

Burglar bloke

Burglar bloke - Credit: Getty Images

The start of a new year often means the home is filled with Christmas presents and bargains from the January sales – and a return to work which could leave your property vulnerable.

According to the 2015 Crime Survey for England and Wales, carried out by the Office for National Statistics, there were around 750,000 incidents of domestic burglary last year. However, Harrison Murray Estate Agency and Nottingham Estate Agency (both part of the Nottingham Building Society) have some tips and advice on keeping your home safe after the holiday season, and give your property a new year security check-up:

- If you have any Christmas gifts still to put away, don’t leave them on full view should someone take a peek through the windows.

- Make sure you have robust locks on the front and back doors – and lock your doors even if you are in the house. Opportunist thieves can strike at any time of day.

- Fit lockable devices/handles to your windows, particularly those on the ground floor and others that can be easily reached by climbing.

- You may want to consider replacing your front door if it looks tatty, it’s the kind of thing that will attract a burglar’s eye.

- Consider a light sensor, which can be highly effecting in deterring potential intruders.

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- A house alarm system acts in two ways – to deter intruders, and detect the opening of a window or a door. Some systems can also be linked up to a mobile phone number letting the owner know the alarm has been triggered.

- Lock rear entry gates to ensure your back garden is as private and secure as possible. Many burglaries start at the back, where no one can see them taking place.

- Don’t advertise when you are away. Arrange for a neighbour to keep a general eye on your home and ask Royal Mail to hold your post if you are away for a length of time. Above all, don’t reveal your plans on social media – it’s not just your friends who use Facebook and other sites!

- Finally, ensure that you are fully covered insurance-wise should anything happen.

These tips follow some interesting findings from a recent survey* which spoke to 25 former burglars about home security, and discovered:

- 26 per cent of them said that movement activated security lights were the best deterrent, followed by CCTV (22 per cent) and a dog bark (15 per cent).

- Actions to least deter burglars were leaving a light on, a gravel driveway and a beware of the dog sign.

- Those questions said common mistakes by householders included post sticking out of the letterbox, milk bottles on the doorstep and drawing the curtains before going away.