It’s natural to worry about burglaries – no one wants to come home to find their possessions have been taken, or even worse, discover a burglar in the house. However, burglars don’t strike at random; they prefer properties which are easy to enter and leave, quickly and unobserved. Security measures which will create noise, or make them visible will act as a deterrent. Bearing this in mind, there are a range of steps you can take to make your home an unappealing target.

● Install an alarm system – contrary to what many people believe, a properly installed and well maintained security system will deter burglars. Although, there are many DIY options available in home maintenance stores, it is better to have your burglar alarm fitted by professionals who can ensure it is fully effective. This may cost more but is worthwhile compared to the cost of lost valuables and peace of mind.

● Lock your doors – remember to engage security features on uPVC models if you have them. If you have older wooden doors and windows, invest in modern, more effective locks. Don’t forget: if you remove the keys keep them somewhere safe and easily accessible in case of a fire!

● Make use of lights and timer switches – if you are often out in the evening, it’s a good idea to switch lights on to create the impression that someone is home. Similarly, leaving a television or radio playing will mean an observer is unsure about whether the house is actually empty. Adding lights to the exterior of your property means anyone entering your garden risks being seen by a neighbour or passer-by. If you aren’t at home when it starts to get dark, use timer switches to switch lights on automatically.

● Cancel deliveries – if you are going to be away for a few days or more, don’t forget to cancel deliveries of milk and newspapers. A build-up of either lets a would-be burglar know no one is home. If you’re going to be away for some time, ask a trusted relative or friend to collect your post because, once again, a big pile of mail behind the door suggests no one is there to pick it up.

● Don’t leave valuables in plain sight – don’t leave your television or computer near the window; put jewellery and expensive items away so they can’t easily be found. Of course, this won’t help if someone does break in, but there is less chance that they will if you don’t advertise the presence of high value objects.

● Secure the exterior of your property – don’t let burglars gain access to your back garden, where they will be unobserved. Not only will this mean it’s more difficult for them to break into the rear of your house, it also means they won’t have access to your shed. Invest in good, strong locks for your gates and keep your bins out of sight so they can’t be used to scale fences. Make sure any shrubs and hedges in your front garden are well pruned so they don’t obscure the view of the property. Lock garden tools, bicycles and other expensive, outdoor items in your shed when they aren’t in use.

And finally, using a UV pen to add your postcode to your valuables and registering on a database such as: http://www.immobilise.com, will deter thieves who know that the database is used by police, insurance companies, and crucially, second hand shops – meaning they will find it much harder to sell your belongings and risk detection if they try!