Graeme Dow: So, some basic tips to protect your home.
Start with the exterior, that’s where the burglars are going to start looking. If you’ve got a solid exterior, either railings or a high fence or high walls so much the better.
If you haven’t, and most people haven’t then some 'defensive gardening' as it’s known, or perhaps some vegetation with very sharp prickles, brambles. That’s all going to serve as a deterrent to the average intruder.
If you’ve got gravel in your drive then that’s going to make a noise where intruders attempt to steal your car, so gravel is another deterrent - a quite inexpensive way of covering the front area of your premises.
Outside your house
Looking out the outside of the building it certainly helps if you’ve got CCTV cameras, whether they’re real or dummy. The average intruder on the average house is unlikely to know. So cameras, and an alarm system shown by a bell box with a quality name on it, not just a dummy one with nothing on it.
If you’ve got newspapers or circulars that are left in your door, and left there for a period of time, then that’s going to suggest to intruders that you’re not there. So it makes sense to have a sign that says 'please push your post / circulars (or no circulars at all) - push them inside the front door.'
Securing your entry points
Once they do come further than that, then the key is to have a proper set of locks on your doors, and that includes any patio doors and any windows especially at lower ground level. So proper locking on patio doors, typically a five point lock that bolts into the frame work is going to deter intruders, otherwise they’re going to lever your door/window fairly easily.
Inside your house
Once inside the building, it helps to have an intruder alarm system that’s got space detectors, movement detectors inside the premises, and they’re typically passive infrareds. Alternatively, you might have combined passive infrared microwaves in any sensitive areas.
The idea behind those is to detect any heat, any movement. If you’ve got pets, you’re going to need what they call pet sensitive detectors and what they do in essence is lift the beam levels higher up above the animals normal height. If you’ve got animals that climb on the back of chairs and things then you need to take that into account.
Intruders recently have been targeting cars on front drives, and a lot of people put their keys on the front door so they’re there when they go out. Intruders will use the letterbox, they might use the mirror, they might use some sort of mechanical claw to take those keys without opening your front door. They can see by shining a torch where your keys are at night.
So they are professionals, they do know how to do it effectively, so the advice is don’t leave keys on the back of your front door.
Choosing the right alarm
Having your alarm system monitored gives you police response - it’s more expensive - but it does give you the comfort that you’ve got the police going to come out if there is a genuine alarm. The alarm company will tell you more about that, you need to have two detectors operating so one of them could be a false alarm, if you’ve got two that’s normally considered confirmed alarm and the police will respond to that.
Systems that don’t have remote signalling that link though to an alarm receiving centre - they do not have police response. They’re obviously less expensive, but you get what you pay for.