Here are a few simple tips to help keep your home secure.
- Use an alarm - most offenders will shy away from trying to enter a house that has an alarm installed. They prefer to be in and away with little or no fuss at all.
- Keep keys hidden - never leave them lying around for anybody to pick them up. Don't leave them on hooks, in window locks, or on a hallway table near a door or letterbox.
- Mark your property - the simplest and cheapest method is to use an ultra-violet pen to write your postcode and house number or the first two letters of the house name.
- Lighting - fit time switches to operate radios and lights when you're out to make it look like you're in.
- Secure your property - make sure your home is secure at all times of the day and night; keep your doors and windows locked. If you use a locksmith, make sure they are licensed and approved. The Master Locksmiths Association lists all vetted, inspected and qualified locksmiths in your area.
Burglars sometimes use false pretences to gain entry to your property. These are known as 'bogus callers' or 'distraction burglars'.
- Stop - before you answer, think whether you're expecting anyone. Look through the spy-hole or the window to see who it is.
- Chain - if you decide to open the door, put the door chain or bar on first. Keep them on while you're talking to the person on the doorstep.
- Check - ask for and double check their identity card.
- Remember, if in doubt, keep them out!
- Secure your property with a fence or wall at least 1.8 meters tall and maintain to a good condition. Prickly bushes and dense plants offer an alternative to walls or fences to secure your property.
- Tools - never leave tools lying around the garden or leave your shed unlocked. Keep what tools you are using with you and put them away when you've finished with them.
- Lock external buildings such as sheds and garages using good quality padlocks.
- Site sheds close to the house so that you can see their windows and doors.
- Light the side and rear of your house with lights operated by a dusk to dawn sensor and using low energy bulbs; this is a low cost, energy efficient way of providing security and safety.
- Remember just because it's a garden doesn't mean that it doesn't need protecting.
If you're the victim of a crime, or witness one, please contact South Yorkshire Police. In an emergency, call 999, or 101 in a non emergency.