In a bid to help make this Halloween a safe one for everyone, Mercury Security & Facilities Management has compiled a list of tips to keep burglars away and prevent Halloween from turning into a real nightmare.
Liam Cullen, Director at Mercury Security & Facilities Management, said: “Halloween is a brilliant time of year for our families and communities to enjoy so the last thing we want to do is spook anyone out. This year, we’re simply asking that, amidst all the fun and festivities, people take a little time to consider their home security and take a few precautions that might help keep their property and possessions safe.
“We have found that most home burglaries are carried out by opportunists who take advantage of an unlocked door or open window – easy things to do when you have excited children keen to get out and enjoy the fun.
“In addition, bogus callers are also known to take advantage of Halloween, a time when many of us enjoy opening our front doors to youngsters who are out trick or treating.
“Everyone should make security a priority this Halloween and to help, we’ve put together a few good pointers that will give your home added protection,” concluded Liam.
Mercury’s 12 Steps to Home Security
- Lock before you leave – before you leave the house to go trick or treating, lock all doors and windows, even the upstairs ones. Fit restrictors on windows if possible as thieves can wriggle through any gap larger than a human head. Fit locks at the top and bottom of patio doors.
- Be alarmed – don’t forget to set your burglar alarm. In the excitement of Halloween activity, it is not uncommon for people to forget to do the obvious! Visible alarms make burglars think twice and make sure to get your system serviced regularly.
- Make your home look occupied – try to put burglars off by giving the impression that there is still someone in the house. Leave the lights on in living areas and draw the curtains. If you’re out of town on a Halloween break, maybe fit a timer to lamps around the house, so that they will automatically switch on at dusk.
- Keep your car secure – use your car alarm or steering lock and don’t leave items in your car that could be tempting to burglars, like Sat Nav or stereo systems, CDs or bags. Always put your car in the garage if you have one and make sure the garage is locked.
- Don’t advertise the fact that you’re out – If you’re going away for a Halloween or mid-term break, be careful about who you tell and what information you post on social networking sites. Check your social media settings to see who has access to your personal details and try to limit to friends only – otherwise strangers (and potential burglars) can see everything you post and will know your house is currently empty.
- That’s bogus dude – to hamper bogus callers, fit a security chain to your front (and back) doors. If a stranger knocks on your door, stop, check the chain is on and verify the caller’s identification before opening your door.
- See the light – make sure your outdoor lighting is working and is on a sensor. Visible alarms that light up at night will also make burglars think twice about targeting your house.
- Gnome sweet gnome – never leave garden items or ornaments outside during the winter months – they can be used to break windows and doors or cause general damage to cars and property.
- Inspect your gadgets – ensure that mobiles, laptops and other gadgets are hidden from view. Use an ultraviolet pen to mark items of value, such as televisions and DVD players, with your postcode and house number. This will help police to identify your property more easily if it’s stolen. Try to make sure that larger valuable items, such as guitars, TVs and stereos, can’t easily be seen through windows. Leaving valuable items, including car and house keys, on show gives burglars an incentive to break into your home.
- Shed your fears – make sure that outbuildings such as sheds and garages are locked and alarmed, and securely store any ladders, tools or ornaments that could be used to break windows and doors and help burglars break into to your home. Don’t leave shed or garage keys in view as windows can easily be smashed to reach them and gain entry.
- Everybody needs good neighbours – neighbours should stick together so ask people living close by to keep an eye on the house while you’re out. If you’re out of town, give someone a key so they can come in, draw the curtains and help make the house look like it’s lived in. It’s a good idea to leave your keys with someone you trust along with details of how to contact you in the event of an emergency.
- Ensure you’re insured – check your household insurance cover.Opening up your home to visitors, even if they are just trick-or-treaters on the front porch, can expose you to potential insurance claims and lawsuits.