Keeping your property safe and secure this summer

With summer finally here – many of us are likely to spend more time socialising or relaxing in the garden, or away from home altogether on a seasonal break.

While latest figures from The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) show substantial falls in property crime, Harrison Murray estate agents have some tips for keeping your property safe and secure during the summer month. Head of estate agency Nick Salmon said: “Many of us seem to let our guard down slightly in the summer – with the warm evenings and sunny weekends meaning we spend more time outdoors. It just takes an opportunist thief to spot an open window and ruin your summer.”

Your property

Check your doors, windows and patio doors are fully closed and locked before you go to bed. If you are in the garden, make sure the windows at the front of the house are closed – it’s easy for someone to enter your house unobserved via an insecure window or door. If you are planning to go away, ensure all moveable valuables like handbags, laptops and mobile phones are hidden from view upstairs. Use automatic timer-switches to turn on a light and perhaps a radio when it gets dark. Don’t leave your curtains drawn for the duration of your holiday – it’s fine in the evening but during the day it is a give away that the house is empty. A pile of post hanging out of your letterbox is a clear sign that you are away. Ask a trusted neighbour to pick up your post, or use Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ service; they will keep your mail for up to two months. Never leave keys anywhere near the front door, in line of sight from your letterbox; burglars know where to look. If you have a burglar alarm make sure it is serviced and you have mutual arrangement with a neighbour to hold keys and check the property. False calls are annoying and the genuine one may just get ignored. If you are selling your home, ensure you leave a key with your agent.

Your garden   Make sure the garden looks cared for and that passers-by can see the front of your home so that a burglar can’t work without being spotted. Some people think large overgrown hedges help hide their property, but they can be a blessing to those wanting to break in. Remove and secure items that may be used to break in or climb up such as ladders and garden tools – and don’t leave any equipment, like lawnmowers, unattended in your front garden. Secure gates and sheds, and fit security lighting on a movement detector. Fix garden statues securely in place. If you are putting in a new shed, try and place it in view of your house.

Your garage   Never leave your garage door open for others to view the contents – even for just a short time. They may make a mental note of what is in there and return later. Fit an alarm or heavy-duty lock to the garage. Make a note of model and series numbers of any bikes or tools stored in garages or sheds. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) shows substantial falls in property crime, with levels having fallen by half since they peaked in the mid-1990s. These were driven by large reductions in high volume crimes such as vandalism, vehicle-related theft and burglary – http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/crime-stats/crime-statistics/focus-on-property-crime–2011-12/index.html

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