How secure is your home? String of residential thefts in Herts provoke police warnings over home safety

PUBLISHED: 16:01 21 September 2015 | UPDATED: 16:01 21 September 2015

BEWARE: Home security is essential.

BEWARE: Home security is essential.

2010,Ricardo Reitmeyer

2015 has seen a particular corner of Herts targeted by burglars on multiple occasions. Several cases around the Bishop Stortford area have been reported involving trespassers taking a particular type of gold jewellery, prompting Herts police last week to release a reminder about home security.

Many home-owners presume the summer holidays to be the most targeted time of the year for opportunist thieves and organised robberies. This is a myth.

There isn’t a set time of year that someone should be more lax when it comes to keeping their home and belongings as safely contained as possible. In the summer locals know when their neighbours are on holiday abroad, and so are likely to be more clued in should activity start occurring at an empty house. The evenings are lighter, giving burglars less of a night-time window of opportunity to strike.

When the winter draws in, it gets darker earlier, and as the festive season approaches there are plenty of gifts to be plucked from under the Christmas tree while the family are out at a holiday party.

With specific reference to the break-ins in Herts earlier this year, Inspector Paul Lawrence from the Crime Reduction Unit said last week: “Anyone who keeps a large collection of valuable jewellery at home should ensure that their homes are secure. Taking basic steps to secure your home can be enough to deter many burglars. If you have made a significant investment in gold and jewellery, it makes sense to take all possible precautions to protect these items.”

Take a look at our 10 tips for improving upon your home’s security...

Lock the doors:

It might sound simple, but flippant security can often become commonplace within a family home, with parents, children and teenagers constantly in and out all day. It takes one act of carelessness to leave a door unlocked or to leave the house thinking someone else is at home, when actually they’re not.

Windows too:

Windows are potentially easier access for robbers given that these are left open around the house more so than external doors. If no one’s at home, be sure that even the smallest windows of the highest rooms in the house are shut and secured. Thieves will find a way to squeeze through even a tiny gap.

Beware of the dog:

If you have a dog, it doesn’t hurt to train it to recognise unnatural activity in the home. If someone is attempting to force a lock, it’s quite obviously a different procedure to someone who is opening a door with a key. A few swift barks should be enough to deter any burglar. Even other pets that move around inside can give the impression that the house is not totally empty, and will influence a thief not to risk it.

De-clutter:

Don’t leave valuables in plain sight of someone who might be casing the joint from the outside. If you have a plethora of diamond tiaras, make sure they’re stored away safely. Similarly, don’t leave car keys anywhere too obvious. If you leave them proudly next to the front door, all it takes is a smashed window and a quick grab before a stranger is speeding down the road in your brand new wheels.

Sensor lights:

The great thing about these lights is that they will just click on when movement occurs beneath their sensor. This doesn’t mean you have to leave them switched on all night. In fact, its better not to - because if your porch light flicks on at 1AM then you know that something is moving around outside that perhaps shouldn’t be.

Insured and assured:

Home or contents insurance is just like car, pet, life or travel insurance. It just makes sense, should the worst happen.

CCTV:

It might seem a little OTT, but many homes have cameras these days, especially with the invention of apps and home-gadgets that allow you to keep tabs on any activity caught on the camera. This simply gives you the upper-hand should someone be on your property and you need to keep tabs on them. Similarly, it can help catch thieves after a robbery.

Light up:

Use timer switches on your lamps around the house to come on at certain intervals, giving an impression that someone is home. Nothing deters burglars better than a well-lit, welcoming house. Remember - they are looking to keep in the shadows.

Sound the alarm:

Is your property alarmed? If not, perhaps its time to install one. Some schemes are linked directly to the police department, should you perhaps be unavailable to get straight home.

Protect the fort:

Make sure all of your perimeter gates and fences are secured and that they don’t allow easy access to an intruder. Keep outhouses, sheds and garages locked up so there is no easy way to obtain tools or a ladder to assist anyone trying to break in.

Flip through this check-list, decide which measures suit you and your home best, and make sure you’re secure for the upcoming winter.

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