Autumn is just around the corner, it’s that time of year when we’re settling into the new school year and contemplating when to put the heating back on! Not only is it a perfect time to prepare your home for the cooler weather, but also to make sure it is as safe and secure as it can possibly be.

According to the Office for National Statistics Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) there were an estimated 701,000 incidents of domestic burglary in the year to March 2016. It’s therefore important to consider the security of your home especially when you’re back at work after the summer holidays, particularly as burglaries are more likely to take place during the day, between 11am and 5pm.

Although many people have contents insurance cover, nothing can compensate for the stress it causes, or replace the personal items and gifts you may lose as a result of a burglary.

NHBC, the UK’s leading warranty provider and standard setting body for new homes, offers the following security tips to help you keep your home and possessions safe and secure.

Improve the security potential of your doors
It is important to have robust locks on both the front and back doors. Ensure entrance doors to your home are fitted with securely fixed locks or a multi-point locking system with at least 1000 differs (the number of possible keys for a given lock). Also ensure that you have a latch and deadlocking system.

Do you have sliding back doors?
These should be secured by way of a multi-point locking system and have an anti-lift device fitted so that doors cannot be lifted from their frame from the outside.

Check your window locking systems
Ground floor windows and any others that are easily reached by climbing are recommended to be fitted with lockable devices/handles which cannot be released without a key.  If you own a home built in the last ten years, this may already have modern security locks

Be secure, but also safe
Some doors can be locked from the inside. If that’s the case with yours, and it’s locked using a key, make sure you have a spare key in a convenient place nearby, so that you can get out quickly in an emergency. Newer houses are fitted with locks on the front door which have a thumb turn on the inside to provide a quick escape without the use of a key.

View outside
Ensure that you have a wide angle view of the area immediately outside the main entrance door to check on callers. Newer properties may already have a through-door viewer or clear glazing either to part of the door or a convenient window which provides a view of the main entrance. You may also want to replace your front door if it looks tatty, it’s the kind of thing that will attract a burglar’s eye.

Consider a light sensor…
Crime can be prevented by external detection security lighting that switches on after dark when someone is nearby, illuminating the general area.  It’s highly effective in deterring potential intruders and therefore definitely worth considering if your home doesn’t already have it installed.

…and alarm systems
A house alarm systems acts in two ways – to deter intruders, and detect the opening of a window or a door.  Some systems can also be linked up to a mobile phone number letting the owner know the alarm has been triggered.
Lock rear entry gates
Make sure your back garden is as private and secure as possible. Many burglaries start at the back, where no-one can see them taking place.

Keep ladders and other equipment safe
Do not leave ladders, steps etc. visible in the garden, as they attract the keen eye of the burglar and makes things easy for them, so always ensure that they are kept out of sight, ideally in a locked shed or garage.

If you’re away – try to make your home look occupied!
Leave the lights on in the evening (but not just hall or landing lights) or use an automatic time switch. But, if you’re away for a length of time, arrange for a neighbor to generally keep an eye on your home while you are away.

Mark Jones, NHBC’s Head of House Building Standards, said:

“There are a number of simple steps people can take to ensure they don’t fall victim to this disturbing crime. From burglar alarms to security lights, these measures can add value to properties and offer homeowners peace of mind in helping to make sure their homes and belongings are well protected.

People, who live in newer properties, may already have security locks, burglar alarms and security lighting included as standard. But there are also a number of simple measures people can take to keep their homes and property safe from burglars.”