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Darling......did you lock the front door?

"Darling......did you lock the front door?"

Here we are, the holiday season is upon us and yet one specific sector of society is not to be found lying around on beaches – they are called Burglars and this is their busy season! Whilst the rest of the population is away on holiday, or contemplating the fun to come and therefore not taking life too seriously at the moment, burglars are honing their skills and amassing a small fortune based on other people's belongings.

Before you jet away to the sunshine, you need to make sure your house is secure with no tell-tale signs that the property is empty. If you live in certain parts of the country, you have more to fear from burglars than others, statistics have revealed.

Londoners have by far the highest risk of having their homes broken into – with over 46 burglaries per 1000 people. Burnley is the next most prolific area for burglars – with over 24 burglaries per 1000 people – then Manchester with nearly 24 and Nottingham with more than 22 burglaries per 1000. Bristol, Reading, Leeds, North East Lincolnshire and Ashfield have over 20 burglaries per 1000 people – and Kingston upon Hull hold the tenth position with more than 19 burglaries per 1000 people. This shows that burglary and theft is endemic across the country – but if you want to have the odds reduced, live in Ceredigion in Wales which has just 2.84 burglaries per 1000.

So what can you do to prevent your home being targeted by thieves? Well, in two out of ten burglaries the thieves don't even have to use force to enter a property – they simply go in through an unlocked door or window! A third of burglars enter a property via a back window! Many people still pop a key under the doormat or under a plant pot, thus making access very convenient for burglars. Don't do it! Leave a key with a trusted neighbour, but don't hide one because the odds are that wherever you think is a super idea – so will the burglar!

It may seem obvious, but stick to these simple measures:

>Check that doors and windows are locked whenever you leave the house

>Don't leave valuables (or keys) near windows or doors where they can be seen

>Use timer lights for properties empty during the hours of darkness

>Make sure that sheds and garages are well padlocked

>Ask a neighbour to keep a watch on the house and push through the letter box fliers and mail left protruding

An outside light is a valuable deterrent, as is a CCTV system (you can buy a dummy one if necessary) – installation of a burglar alarm may well reduce the cost of your insurance premium. You can try planting roses or pyracanthus (anything thorny and prickly, but pretty will do nicely!) close to the house (especially useful if you have a boundary wall as these plants wouldn't make the softest of landings for anyone hopping over the wall!). However, make sure that the growth doesn't provide shelter for burglars wanting to work at the front of your property.

You can always get a dog, but then it too has to go on its holiday when you do. It somehow defeats the object a little.....! You could buy a 'beware of the dog' sign – and there are some motion detecting alarms on the market which bark.......a deterrent of sorts. You need to take all possible steps to protect your premises. There is a lot of advice around – and it is worthwhile discussing options when you renew your property and contents insurance. A professional insurance company will be happy to explain what you need to do to make certain your property is fully covered should someone actually break into and steal from your premises: get the best advice – Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today. As in all things in life, you have to assume some responsibility, and in this case for ensuring your property is secure. Taking a few simple precautions can ensure that you have nothing to worry about whilst you are on holiday, except perhaps to wonder if you actually turned off the oven. Yes, we all do it......!

Posted on 11th July, 2010