How to ensure your household items are safe and secure

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Burglary is a genuinely hurtful crime, not only because victims can lose expensive household goods and valuable family heirlooms, but because having one’s personal living space invaded is a deeply upsetting experience. Crime levels are often perceived as higher than they actually are, partly due to a large amount of press and media coverage, but with the recession affecting an ever larger number of people, the risk of being robbed by an opportunist burglar is very real.

There are however some common sense measures you can take to reduce the chance of being burgled.

Many burglaries are opportunist crimes, committed when a home looks unoccupied, or when some other security barrier has been compromised – such as a window that has been left open. Therefore, it is advisable to make your property look lived in when you are away at work or on holiday. When on holiday, you might ask a friend or relative to remove any mail that has built up on the door mat, as this is a sure sign that you are away. You can also use a timer system to ensure a lamp or two is on in the evening, again giving the impression you are still at home. It may also be a good idea not to tell too many people that you are going away.

Make doubly sure that all windows and doors are locked before you leave - both upstairs and downstairs. Just because a first floor window looks difficult to reach, doesn’t mean you don’t need to check it is locked. Be aware that ‘louvre’ windows can be easily broken into, since the slats can be removed from the frame without much difficulty. Equally, ensure you don’t leave ladders lying around which might make it easier to break in through a top floor window.

There are a number of additional security measures you can invest in too, but not all are particularly affordable. There are many security camera and infra-red motion detection systems on the market, at varying levels of cost. A CCTV system might cost between £500 and £10,000, while a steel door might cost £2,000. Unless you have very valuable items on your property, such an investment might not make economic sense.

There are other more unusual anti-burglary devices out there too, such as the Smokecloak, which belches out thick black smoke if an intruder enters your home. The concept is to make their job as hard as possible to carry out, both in terms of identifying valuables and in basic respiration.

For those who prefer a more traditional approach to burglary prevention, there are a whole host of alarms on the market, from simple, cheap door mounted devices to elaborate British Standard approved alarm systems.

But while all this technology plays a big part in preventing an unwanted visitor, police advice emphasises the importance of dissuading opportunist burglars. In short, it is important not to make it easy for a would-be thief, by checking every aspect of your home’s security before you leave it unoccupied.

For additional peace of mind, taking out contents insurance is a good way of guarding against the monetary loss incurred by a burglary. Policies such as those from can offer an affordable way to help you relax whenever you leave your property.

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