Break-ins, or attempted break-ins can leave homeowners feeling shaken up. Even if a burglar is unsuccessful in breaking into a home, the attempt can still affect a homeowner’s mental health. Contrary to belief most burglaries happen in the summer months between June and August and not during the winter, although Christmas burglaries can lead to huge distress, we want to highlight a few ideas from our friends at ADT who have offered their advice on how to warn off burglars and keep your home safe no matter what time of year. 
1. Check your windows and doors
Security flaws in your property could include things like unsecured windows, garage doors and hidden keys. Ahead of the winter months, double-check that the locks are working on both your windows and your doors. Installing a sash jammer to your windows and doors can add an extra layer of security as they will be unable to open them. 
The door for your pet is also more likely to assist an intruder if it is too big, so make sure you keep its size to the minimum required for your pet to enter and install a lock for further protection. In addition, simply never keep your key in a secret place outside. While convenient, this way of storing a key poses a significant risk.
2. Choose the right video doorbell for you
Whilst numerous DIY security brands offer video doorbells that may seem to be good value for money, a lot of burglars are becoming aware that they offer little protection for your home. Using two-way video doorbells that are integrated into a security system not only allows you to see, speak and hear from anyone at the front door but when combined with e.g. smart plugs it can take your home security to the next level, switching on lamps inside the home when motion is detected. 
3. Get a monitored alarm installed
A visible alarm system is a strong deterrent to potential burglars, as criminals are less likely to target a home that is protected. While it is perhaps the most obvious, it is also one of the most effective. Having an alarm with the name of a well trusted and reputable brand with a proven history for installing and maintaining systems such as ADT on it may mean more to a burglar than a nameless alarm system. 
In the event of a break-in, a monitored alarm will alert you, your keyholders and depending on the system you take out, the police, ensuring a swift response to an alarm activation. This means that even if you are not home, the police will attend to the situation. Always ensure that your home security provider issues you with a URN (unique reference number) when taking out a police response system. This means your alarm is logged with your local police constabulary.
Your home security system can also be extended to protect any garages, sheds and outbuildings to protect valuable items such as bicycles.
4. Keep valuables in a safe place 
If possible, move the most valuable items in your home to a more secure place, such as a safe. Remember that safe boxes can be lifted and carried out, so ideally, your safe should be built into a wall or bolted down. If you don’t have a safe or your items won’t fit, make sure you store them away so they can’t be seen through your window, as this might encourage burglars to try and break in. Burglars most frequently target the following items, so make sure these items aren’t on display in your home:
  • Cash

  • Electronics

  • Expensive jewellery and watches

  • Designer fashion items
If you need to keep cash in your home, try and disperse it around your home so that it makes it more difficult for a burglar to find it. Always password and PIN  protect electronic devices and look to utilise apps such as “Find my phone” to help the police locate the items. Utilising Air Tags or other tracking devices on bicycles and larger items could help the police retrieve your items and bring the culprit to justice.
5. Keep your car doors locked and valuables hidden 
If you cannot keep a car in a locked garage, always ensure that your car is locked as thieves are likely to try car doors and look for any quick wins such as cash, bags or any items of value stored in cars. It is in your best interest to take any items from your car and move them into your house. If you cannot take these items back to your house, hiding them from sight will stop thieves from being able to see them. 
Video doorbells and cameras watching over your car can act as a deterrent to any possible thieves. ADT’s outdoor camera with perimeter guard emits a high-pitched whistle when motion is detected by your camera, and also comes with two-way audio to speak to whoever is lurking around your property. Often, this will deter any further encroachment.
6. Don’t forget to set your alarm 
This may seem like an obvious one, but many people with alarm systems forget, or choose, not to set their alarm when they go out. If you already have a home alarm system, remember to set it before leaving your home, even if you’re away for a few hours. But don’t worry, with an ADT home security system you can be sent arming reminders straight to your phone if you haven’t set the alarm, so you can set it from anywhere.
7. Rely on your furry friends
Dogs can also be an effective weapon against break-ins. Getting a sign that indicates that a dog is in the house, even if there’s no real dog, could discourage burglars from targeting your property.
The experts have also offered advice on what to do if you are burgled. 
Michele Bennett, General Manager at ADT UK&I Subscriber says: “If you find yourself to be a victim of burglary, the actions you take are extremely important. If you are in the home whilst a burglar is attempting to break in, it is vital that you avoid confronting the intruder, regardless of how confident you are that you can prevail. Call the police and secure yourself, and any other people in your home, in a safe space. Confrontation should be the last resort. 
“If you come home to find you’ve been burgled, a million thoughts will race through your head, but stop, take a breath, and take these immediate actions.” 
  • Don’t touch anything

Although it is hard, do not touch anything until the police have finished their work. After a burglary, your home is a crime scene, and touching or moving items can disrupt evidence.
  • Call the police 

Call 101 to file a report. This is the non-emergency number for the police. Not only could the police catch whoever is responsible, but it is also reassuring to know that they are on their way. The National Police Chiefs’ Council have recently committed to attending all home burglaries and will help support victims after a traumatic and invasive experience. The police will also give you a crime reference number so you can report the break-in to your home insurance company. 
  • Take photos and review the footage

Photos and videos can be used to supply evidence of any damage you have suffered to your insurance company. The footage could also be vital to the police case. It is worth asking your neighbours if they have any CCTV as they could have caught the burglar on the way to or from your home.
  • Make a list of stolen goods 

Write a list of things that are missing and find evidence of you owning those items. This could be paper or online receipts, bank statements or even pictures of them. 
  • Contact your insurance company. 

It’s time to call your home insurance company. Make sure you have your insurance policy number and crime reference number to hand – you’ll be asked for these. By doing this immediately, you get on the road to recovering the cost of your possessions and even some of the damage caused by the intruder.
  • Cancel your cards 
If you have any suspicion that credit cards, debit cards or paperwork that could lead to bank accounts have been taken, do not hesitate to cancel them. 
Michele continues: “You may feel upset and anxious over the next few days, which is completely natural. Try your best to get into a regular routine. This may not be easy, but with time your house will start to feel like home.”
  • Put the pieces back together 

You may want to ask friends and family to help you, or even hire someone to take care of cleaning for you if you find it too difficult to do it yourself. 
  • Secure your home 

Cleaning up is one thing, securing your home is another entirely. You’ll know the point of entry by now, so that is your first port of call. If it was a window, you should review and make changes to any others with a similar structure. With doors, you can add deadlocks, bolts and chains to make them harder to break through. 
  • Review your security 

If you don’t already, having a good security system in place is a surefire way to deter burglars from trying to enter your home. 
  • Change your locks 

Even if locks seem secure, it is still a good idea to change them when moving into a new house as you simply don’t know who’s had keys for the property over the years. Check window locks too. 

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