As the nights grow longer and the mornings become darker, the window of opportunity for thieves and burglars opens wider, here at Mackenzie Smith, we are sharing in the observation of National Home Security Month.

An increase in burglaries and robberies of 6% was indicated in reports by the Office for National Statistics for 2017, which poses the question, is your house secure?

There are many simple ways of improving the safety of your home and your worldly possessions within it. Securing your valuables and sentimental items safely is an obvious place to start; burglars could well be deterred if items are too difficult to extract, so consider whether it would be worthwhile to invest in a safe which can be bolted down, or a security deposit box for those items not so frequently used.

Now the glorious summer months appear to be over, you may also have already stowed away many items from the garden. A worrying 17% of British homeowners claim to have had items stolen from their gardens, even including smaller items such as flower pots. So it is worth taking steps to make the external of your property difficult for the average burglar to access, for the safety of both your home and your garden items.

Here are just a few suggestions to help along the way:

• Maintain or install locks on garden gates

• Invest in security devices

• Fix or anchor down large garden furnishings

• Remember to lock up sheds full of equipment, perhaps bring items such as bikes inside

• Use gravel pathways and driveways for increased noise by intruders

• Use tall hedges, fencing and walls to make climbing over them difficult

You may  have already installed an alarm system in their home, do keep in mind that alarms can become faulty and it makes sense to have your alarm checked by a local company, and maybe update your current devices.

Perhaps you are not residing in your property and it is vacant. Make sure that you visit it, or ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye out for anybody lurking around outside. It would be wise to invest in a security alarm of some kind, even something as simple as a light on a timer. An outdoor security light would certainly bring attention to any unwanted visitors. Failing these steps, it might be a good idea to leave a light on within the property. Ensure to cancel regular deliveries such as milk or post, as a build-up of these could potentially alert thieves that the property is empty. If, on the other hand, you are looking for or have just found your new home, why not look into neighbourhood watch schemes in the area?

Modern technology means that a wide variety of security devices are available for the concerned homeowner, with many including apps that will notify you by text or email if an alarm is triggered; portable control panels, photo, shock and external detectors, as well as wailing sirens fit to deter the most determined of burglars whilst smart keys can make the process of securing your home a simple one. If you are selling your house, it could certainly seem appealing to a new owner if it was well-protected in this way.

Halloween is close by and whilst many of us enjoy gifting sweets to children in their costumes, there are some individuals who will take advantage of the masquerade to cause trouble, or to use it as a distraction from their misdemeanours. Be wary of letting strangers into your home, and if you need that extra reassurance, a peephole is an invaluable item, or a quick glance out of the window first can help put your mind at ease before answering the door.

House contents insurance is always a must have, but some insurers have seasonal packages which will let you temporarily increase your insurance, which could provide you with that added security. With Christmas on the not too distant horizon, you may even want to consider insurance against minor damage, such as the dreaded red wine spillage!

So with just a few changes, you can stay safe and enjoy the comfort and security of your home, reassured that you have done what is in your power to safeguard your property.

Here at Mackenzie Smith, we are always happy to help, so if you are thinking about buying or selling your home, please feel free to contact your local branch below or visit our website.

Ash Vale – 01252 353030 | ashvale@mackenziesmith.co.uk

Farnborough – 01252 375999 | farnborough@mackenziesmith.co.uk

Fleet – 01252 812121 | fleet@mackenziesmith.co.uk

Hook – 01256 764666 | hook@mackenziesmith.co.uk

Hartley Wintney – 01252 844015 | hartleywintney@mackenziesmith.co.uk

Yateley – 01252 597900 | yateley@mackenziesmith.co.uk

Lettings – 01252 514000 | lettings@mackenziesmith.co.uk