Whenever we leave the house, we assume everything will be there when we get back. That’s not always the case—there were over 7,000 burglaries in Northern Ireland in 20161. Many of these burglaries were committed by opportunistic criminals, who made the most of an open window or unlocked door. While security systems have become very advanced, using secure window and door locks is the still the best way to reduce your chances of being burgled.
Follow these simple steps to ensure your house is as secure as possible:
- Check all doors and windows for any weaknesses.
- Fit mortise locks on all front and back doors.
- Install locks on all downstairs windows.
- Fit barrel locks to the top and bottom of doors.
- Make sure you keep the appropriate keys nearby in case of an emergency.
- Keep your house and car keys safe and away from doors and windows.
- Install a burglar alarm and check it regularly.
- When you are away from home, use timer switches to turn on some lights when it gets dark.
- Make sure you have up-to-date contents insurance.
- Cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries when you go away.
- Make sure all the windows are shut and locked before you go out. Many burglars are put off if a window needs to be smashed. Check all doors leading into your home are secure and locked.
- If possible, put your car inside a garage or building at night.
- Keep car keys well hidden. The easiest way for a thief to steal a car with a modern security system is to break into your house and steal the keys.
- Shut and lock your main garage door.
- Put away any toys or bicycles lying in the garden or driveway.
- Always keep your keys safe.
- Never give keys to workers or tradesmen.
- Change your locks if you think other people might have copies.
It’s natural to take every precaution to secure your vacant properties, and ensure that your valuables are not left there. However, be aware that there is a black market for selling scrap metal stolen from empty properties. Lead has been stolen from church roofs, sports club buildings, and construction sites. Copper is sometimes taken from the electrical wiring in the walls of vacant buildings. Ensure your holiday home or investment property has simple security measures such as quality doors and locks to counter this type of theft.