Every year the winter months see a rise in burglaries due to the shorter days and more hours of darkness making it easier for criminals to identify and target unoccupied homes.

Here are some of our top tips for keeping your home secure this winter:

Doors, windows and locks

This might seem like an obvious one but is often overlooked by homeowners who fail to implement basic security measures such as keeping windows and doors locked at night and when you leave the house.

Not only this but ensure that older style, sliding and conservatory doors and windows are up to scratch and not in need of replacement to prevent easy access for intruders. Invest in new, stronger locks, deadlocks, anti-snap locks, deadbolts, keypad locks, bars, bolts and chains can all be effective ways of fortifying your door and window security.

Install an intruder alarm

With new technology home security systems have come a long way in recent years and can offer a wide range of security solutions at various price levels – so take the time to research and decide what is best suited to your home. These can include everything from the standard motion sensor intruder alarms and floodlights to panic buttons, CCTV and smart alarms.

For advice on intruder alarms Chelmsford and Essex for your property – speak to us today.

Don’t hide spare keys

Yes it’s always a good idea to have access to a spare key should you accidentally lock yourself out – but most key hiding places can be easily guessed by thieves and gives them fast and easy access to your home.

Plant pots, door mats, garden ornaments, bricks and areas around the front door are all common hiding places that burglars will know to look for – so don’t make that mistake! Instead leave a spare key with a nearby friend or family member or even a trusted neighbour.

Lighting

Most people will be inclined to leave a light on when they head out for the evening thinking that this will be enough to fool or deter a burglar. However if you regularly get home late or travel in the winter months it could be well worth investing in some clever timed or phone controlled light switches. These will allow you to switch on the lights at certain times and have control over what rooms are lit and how long they are on for which will also save money on electricity bills.

Keep the downstairs curtains and blinds drawn whenever you are out to prevent people from looking inside your home.

Don’t neglect to light your outside entrances – garage doors, front doors; patio doors etc. are target areas vulnerable for forced entry so keep them well-lit with motion sensor floodlights to deter burglars.

Keep outside areas neat

This doesn’t mean a perfectly manicured lawn but more so hedges, trees, bushes and anywhere that an intruder can lie in wait, hide or lurk in the shadows undetected.

A clear front and back garden with open space decreases the potential hiding spaces and keeping tall trees around the home trimmed reduces the chances of them being used to gain access to the second floor windows.

Exterior buildings

A lot of homeowners make the mistake of not thoroughly fortifying areas such as sheds, outhouses and garages. If not properly secure these can be used to obtain tools for use in the burglary and for buildings attached to the property – can even be used to gain entry to the main areas of the house.

Don’t give away clues

So you’re going away on holiday – you’ve got everything covered and your house is secure, but what tell-tale signs are you unintentionally giving away to potential thieves that you’re not home? Overflowing post boxes and bins remaining out after collection are an instant giveaway.

In a world of social media people have become blinded by how potentially dangerous it can be to share your holiday snaps or posts whilst away from home. Keep your whereabouts off of social media until your return to ensure no nasty surprises.

Out of sight

It’s hard when you’re rushing off to work or heading out on the school run to remember everything but ensure that things such as iPads, laptops, cash, jewellery, computers, phones and car keys are out of sight.

More and more homes are being broken into in order to retrieve car keys so avoid keeping them on hooks, hallway tables or anywhere obvious for intruders to quickly seek out.