Being burgled is an unpleasant reality that many of us have experienced or will experience in our lifetimes. While it can be very traumatic and leave us feeling frightened and vulnerable, it can also provide us with a timely wake-up call about our home security.
From the moment the police leave, questions emerge about how to prevent such a thing from ever happening again and this article looks at some of the steps you can take to reduce the odds that it will.
The police will probably have told you where they think the burglar entered, or it may be self-evident. Either way, that is the first thing to secure. If the point of entry was the front door (as in the majority of burglaries), then chances are they simply forced it open. That usually means the door is poorly reinforced around the lock and needs to be strengthened.
A locksmith should be called to make the repairs as soon as possible and you should have the door jamb reinforced around the new lock to prevent jemmying. If the point of entry was a window (second most favourite way in for burglars), you’ll need to call a glass repairer to replace the pane.
It’s important to have these initial repairs done fairly quickly in case of a repeat burglary, as statistics show that 30% of repeat burglaries occur within one month of the initial offence.
If your home has been broken into, it’s time to undertake a complete review of your home’s security, making a note of all weak points and ways they can be strengthened. Common weak points include:
- Windows screened by dense trees or shrubs (these should be pruned back from the house)
- Old garage doors with internal access to the house (replace with a remote controlled roller door, which prevents jemmying due to the tension in the roller mechanism)
- Sliding glass doors or windows with latches next to the glass (put a shield around the latches or place a length of dowel in the tracks to prevent them from being slid open)
- Unlocked outbuildings such as sheds containing tools and ladders that can be used in a burglary (secure with a quality padlock)
- Poor quality locks on doors and windows (replace with deadlocks).
If, after reviewing and upgrading your basic security, you still feel that your house is vulnerable, you could consider installing additional security devices such as:
- Motion sensor lighting (prevents people lurking in your grounds)
- A wireless alarm system (portable and relatively inexpensive these days)
- A CCTV camera at your front door (even a dummy camera can act as a deterrent)
- Security screens on your doors and windows (will allow you to leave them open in warm weather).
As well as installing additional security, you should visit your immediate neighbours and inform them that you have been burgled. They may not have seen anything suspicious, but at least they will be keeping an eye out in future. Joining your local Neighbourhood Watch is also a good idea and ensure your home and contents insurance policy is up to date.