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Home security

Securing your home is the best way to reduce your chances of being burgled. A lot of burglaries are spur of the moment and committed by opportunist thieves who see an open window or other easy point of entry. Nationally 37% of burglaries occur in properties where either windows or doors were unlocked, so taking the simplest of measures can reduce your chances of becoming a victim by over a third.

Spending money on security measures can seem daunting but it is a good investment and can add value to your property. If you rent your property your landlord has some responsibility towards its security, therefore if it not currently secure, ask your landlord if they will make necessary improvements. If you live in social housing or in a block of rented flats, forming a tenants association might make security easier.

Make sure that any improvements you make don't stop you from getting out of your house as quickly as possible if there is a fire.

  • Property

    There are many steps you can take to keep your property safe, whether in or out of your home. Making your property less desirable to steal by marking it, keeping a record of serial numbers and keeping valuable items out of sight all go towards making sure you keep what you own.

    Outside the home, being aware of your surroundings and the people around you is very important, especially in busy and crowded places. Consider using a purse strap or chain to fix your purse to your bag making it difficult for a purse thief to remove.

    Valuable or unusual property should be photographed with a ruler to indicate size, and from more than one angle. Should the item be lost or stolen, the photographs can be circulated and give a greater chance for the item to be recovered.

    Obtain valuations with descriptions from a reputable antique dealer or auctioneer, and keep receipts of purchases. Make an inventory of your more valuable property and ensure that you are adequately insured.

    Many household insurance policies will have limits on the amount they will pay out for of items unless they are individually listed with your insurance company. If you put any of the following advice into place, inform your insurance company as it may entitle you to a reduction in premiums.

  • External Security

    The security of your home is not confined to the walls, windows and doors but includes the garden, fences, sheds and garages. Fences, gates and hedges can help deter burglars from attempting to enter your property, and good security on your sheds and garages can protect equipment that would be expensive to replace or could be used to gain entry to your home.

    Whilst we want our home and garden to be welcoming and pleasant for ourselves, friends and family it is possible to make it unwelcome to a burglar.

    Having an open aspect at the front of your property will enable neighbours and passersby to see anybody approaching your home, or looking through the windows. At the front of your property, we recommend that hedges and fences are kept to a maximum height of 1 meter, and the canopy of any trees is maintained at 2 meters or more, giving a clear view of windows and doors. This will potentially enable neighbours or passersby to see anyone attempting to gain entry to the rear of the property

    Securing access to the rear of your property will help prevent offenders being able to reach less overlooked areas of your home. Gates should be level with the front of the house if possible, 1.8 meters high and should have a decent lock or padlock. Adjoining fencing should be of the same height.

    The boundary fence or wall to the rear of your home should be of a sturdy construction and of a suitable height so that it is difficult to climb.

    If you have a gate fitted across your drive, keep it closed at all times. This not only gives the impression that someone is at home, and puts a physical boundary between your property and strangers; it sets the rule that the property is private. Closing the gate only when you are out or leaving it open only when you are out, are signs and signals thieves look out for.

    A gravel drive and footpath to the front door are a good deterrent. The noise of someone approaching can warn occupiers and any dogs on the premises. This is especially useful if you are in the garden.

  • Leaving home

    Everyone needs to go out at some time but you want to come home and find everything as you left it. Almost half of all burglaries happen when a flat or house is empty, so don't advertise that you are out.

  • Someone at the door

    Most people who call at your home will be genuine. But sometimes people turn up unannounced, with the intention of distracting you and tricking their way into your home to steal money or valuables. They are known as 'distraction burglars', 'bogus callers' or 'cold callers' and will try numerous ways to distract you to get into your home.

    Wiltshire Police are urging all residents to follow the advice given here to avoid becoming a victim of this crime.

  • Help and advice

    The following organisations can all provide you with help, advice, guidance and support

    Wiltshire Police

    In an emergency 999
    All other times 101

    Age UK

    01380 727767
    Age UK provides free, independent and confidential help by telephone, drop in visit, letter or e-mail. In Addition, Age Concern can provide a list of reputable traders.

    Consumer Direct

    08454 040506
    Consumer Direct exists to protect the interests of Wiltshire consumers, you can call the number above for information and advice on rogue traders

    Victim Support Wiltshire

    01380 738888  
    Victim Support Wiltshire's volunteers and staff are available to provide independent, free and confidential emotional support and practical information to anyone affected by crime.

    Wiltshire Bobby Van

    01225 794652
    The Wiltshire Bobby Van is a charitable trust that operates across the county. It provides door and window locks, safety chains and other security devices to elderly and vulnerable people who have been a victim of burglary.

    Wiltshire Council

    01225 713000

    Swindon Borough Council

    01793 463000

    Local councils provide advice on community safety, housing and social services