Keep your property safe this summer

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Going away for a summer holiday? With burglary one of the most common crimes, it’s important to consider the security of your home while you are away.

Although contents insurance will pay compensation, nothing can pay for the stress it causes, or replace the personal items you might lose.

The National House Building Council offers the following security tips to help you keep your home and possessions secure while you’re away.

Most new homes come with security locks, burglar alarms and security lighting included as part of the standard specification.

Check your window locking systems

Ground floor windows and any others that are easily reached by climbing are recommended to have an automatic lock at the press of a button that needs a key to open them. If you own a home built in the past 10 years, this may already have modern security locks. Installing modern locks may also lower your house and contents insurance premiums.

Improve the security of doors

It is important to have robust locks on both the front and back doors, as well as a 180° door viewer to check on callers, a door opening limiter and hinge bolts.

Do you have detection lighting?

Crime can be prevented by external detection security lighting that switches on after dark when someone is nearby.

Alarm systems

A house alarm systems acts in two ways: to deter intruders and detect the opening of a window or a door.

Try to make your home look occupied

Leave lights on in the evening or use an automatic time switch.

Remember to cancel papers, milk and other deliveries.

If you’re away for a length of time, arrange for a neighbour to cut your grass and keep an eye on the home.

Never leave valuable and easily transportable items like video units or car keys where they can be seen by looking through a window.

Hide items such as jewellery

Some tips from the police

Photograph valuables and use the new marking methods available, so that your goods can be traced if stolen. Make a note of serial numbers

Whenever you leave home make sure all doors and windows are locked.

Do not leave ladders, steps etc in the garden

Make your back garden secure. Lock rear entry gates. Plant prickly shrubs against wall and fences where access is possible.

Keep front hedges and fences no more than waist high, so that neighbours can see your front and side doors.