Simple and effective ways to protect your home

Sergeant John Gill is the Crime Prevention Officer for County Wicklow and is based at Bray Garda Station. Here are his ten top tips:

1. A burglar will always go for a house that looks easy to break into, so if your home looks difficult to enter the chances are that he will move on.

2. Don’t leave spare keys outside. The criminal will be aware of the usual hiding places under the flowerpot or doormat or on a string inside the letter box.

3. Make sure your back door is secure. Criminals usually prefer to get in at the back as they are less likely to be seen. Patio doors should be fitted with mortice bolts and sliding patio doors should be fitted with an anti-lift device. The back gate should be fitted with a good quality padlock. Don’t leave the back door open if you are upstairs as burglaries can occur while the householder is in the house.

4. Fit key operated locks on all accessible windows big and small and lock them when you go out. The gap required for a burglar to break in is just a little bit bigger than a human head.

5. Keep all ladders locked in the shed or chain them to something solid. Wheelie bins are often the perfect height to stand on to reach a window so chain them to a wall or fence away from the house.

6. Fit a sturdy visible second lock on your front door, as a door fitted with only one lock might not be able to withstand a criminal attack. It is recommended that you fit a five or seven lever mortice deadlock sunk into the frame of the door.

7. Fit a spy hole in the front door as burglars will sometimes knock to see if anyone is in. They will not know if the house is empty or if you have decided not to open the door. Fit a door chain to the front door.

8. Use blinds or nets on windows to discourage prying eyes and close your curtains at night.

9. Join your local Neighbour Watch or Community Alert scheme and attach the sticker to the front window. This is a deterrent as burglars will be aware that someone maybe watching them.

10. If budgets permit you should consider installing an intruder alarm system.