Don't leave clues for intruders
Leave a light on, or fit a timer switch that turns various lights on and off throughout your home during the night or day, especially when you're away. Turn down the volume on your phone and answering machine. You can also mow lawns, prune shrubs near windows and lock sheds. All these things will help to make your house less of a target to would be thieves. It won't be so obvious that you're not home.
Notes left for the milkman when you go on holidays are written invitations to thieves. So is uncollected mail and newspapers. Make arrangements to have regular deliveries suspended or for someone to collect them.
Leave a key with someone you trust so they can check on things while you're away - a relative who lives close by or a good neighbour. Ask your bank about safety deposit boxes or envelopes for jewellery and important documents.
When an intruder calls
If you return home and you find the front door open or have reason to believe there has been a break-in, take care in case someone is inside.
If there is an intruder in your home, do not confront them. Get out quickly and call the police from outside your home. Go to a friend's house, a neighbour's house or another safe place.
If the intruder has gone, call the police on 000 (or your local station) immediately. Don't touch anything. Leave everything as it is until the police arrive and try to remain calm.
Hints for home security
- Make a list of all your valuables and record their make, model and serial number. Many stolen items are recovered by the police, but cannot be positively identified by the owners.
- Mark and photograph your television set, stereo equipment, computers, and other valuables so that you can easily identify them. Thieves tend to avoid marked items, which are traceable. Your Neighbourhood Watch organisation or your local police are able to provide you with guidance and assistance with this.
- Whenever you leave your home make sure all doors and windows are securely locked and all alarms or detection devices and activated. Do not forget the garage and the shed.
- If you are going out for the evening, leave a light switched on.
- If you are going on holidays, do not forget to:
- Stop the newspaper, milk and any other deliveries. Make the arrangements in person or by letter - do not leave notes that could be read by others.
- Ask a trusted neighbour or friend to keep an eye on your home for you.
- Take jewellery and other valuable items to your bank for safekeeping.
- Lock away garden tools, ladders and anything else, which could help a housebreaker.
- Arrange to have your letterbox cleared frequently and for a neighbour or friend to mow your front lawn. An overflowing letterbox or long grass are sure signs that you are away.
- Leave blinds and curtains partly open to give the house a lived-in appearance.