A little bit of common sense and vigilance goes a long way, though. Here are six quick tips to keep your home and garden secure while you enjoy the weather.
1. If you can’t see it, don’t leave it open
Never leave a door or window open that you can’t keep an eye on. It’s an open invitation to intruders, and even if you have a good home insurance policy, the insurer might refuse to pay out if there was no actual physical break-in.
If you want to leave bedroom windows open at night, install restrictors so that they won’t open wide enough for someone to climb through.
2. Have eyes in the back of your head
If you’re spending a sunny afternoon in the back garden, you’ll have to spend the whole time listening out for anyone approaching the front of the house. Alternatively, you could outsource the job to a smartphone-connected camera like Y-Cam’s HomeMonitor HD, or Canary. Read more here.
3. Keep valuables out of sight
Even with your windows and doors closed, any valuables you leave on display can be incentive enough for an intruder to break in. Car and house keys need to be kept well away from doors and windows, and expensive electronics should never be left just a smash and grab away.
4. Flummox a burglar
Thieves often target garden sheds because they tend to contain valuable tools and are relatively insecure. Throw a spanner in the works by swapping the screws that secure the hinges and locks with tamper-proof versions.
One-way, hex-head and Torx screws require special tools to remove, which a casual burglar is unlikely to carry.
5. Put the post on hold
If you’re going away for an extended period, a visible build-up of post on your doormat tells burglars your home is a soft target. Give a key to a friend, relative or neighbour who can collect it all and store it for you.
Alternatively, use the Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service, which holds on to your letters for up to 66 days. Prices start at £14 for 10 days.
6. Put on a light show
Give would-be intruders the impression you’re still at home by installing timer switches on your lights or, better still, use wifi-enabled light bulbs you can control remotely using your smartphone.
Bonus tip – secure your wifi too
If you’re using your phone or tablet in the garden over wifi, make sure you secure your router with at least WPA encryption, or else anyone could piggyback on your connection and sap your bandwidth.
Worse still, malicious users could hack your network to see what you’re doing online, and potentially steal your personal and financial details.
No matter how careful you are, you need a decent home contents insurance policy as a last line of defence. If a determined or cunning thief does manage to steal from you, it means you’ll be able to claim for your losses.
Shop around and you’ll find prices are quite affordable. Read more in my article, 5 ways to pay less for your home insurance.