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Security Advice by Safeguard Alarms

In 3 out of 10 burglaries, thieves do not have to use force. They get in through an open door or window. The following 'top tips' have been drawn up to help reduce the risk of burglary:

1. Windows - in just under one third (30%) of burglaries with entry, the thief gained access through an unlocked door or open window. Make sure doors and windows are locked particularly when leaving the house.

2. Lighting - leave a light on to give the impression there is someone at home. 58% of burglaries take place in the evening or night and 34% occur at the weekend. Time switches can be fitted to operate radios and lights when you are out.

3. When the clocks go back - There is an increased risk of burglary during the winter months, and gives some information on what can be done to alleviate the risk.

4. Burglar Alarms - visible burglar alarms make burglars think twice. Those connected to a monitoring service are the best, get specialist advice from us.

5. Keys - never leave a spare key in a convenient hiding place such as under the doormat or in a flowerpot - a thief will look there first. If you've moved into a new house, consider changing the back and front door locks - other people may have keys that fit. Never leave keys near a window or door (thieves are increasingly stealing car keys so they can take cars, often using a hook or magnet on a stick pushed through the letterbox).

6. Secure all doors - if your front and back doors are not secure, neither is your home. Thieves are most likely to target doors when attempting to break in (67%). Check the condition of the frames, hinges and glass panels. Fit such devices as chains and door viewers. Patio doors will also need special fitted locks.

7. Garages and Sheds - are often left unlocked and may be full of tools ideal for breaking into the rest of the house. Half of burglaries involved some form of property damage. Fit sheds and garages with strong padlocks and ideally an alarm especially if part of your home alarms system. Always lock ladders in the garage or shed to stop a thief using them.

8. Postcode your property - marked property can deter burglars because it is harder for a thief to sell on and may also help police secure a conviction.

9. Good Neighbours - if you see anyone acting suspiciously in your neighbourhood, call the police. Get in touch your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme or form a new one in your area - see what they're doing and how you can contribute.

10. Bogus callers - in 4% of burglaries thieves used false pretence to gain entry to a property. Most people who call at your home will be genuine. But sometimes, people call with the intention of tricking their way into your home. They are known as "distraction burglars" or "bogus callers", whose aim is to get into homes to distract people and steal their money or valuables. Home Office leaflets gives advice on how to stop the bogus caller getting into your home, by following the "Lock, Stop, Chain, Check" method. If you are unsure about the person at the door, do not let them in.

11. Insurance - insurance will relieve you of the financial worry of replacing stolen goods and many insurance companies offer reduced premiums for people with good home security.

12. Crime Prevention Officer - contact the crime prevention officer in your local police force or local council who will be able to give you advice on making your home and your belongings secure.