Seven home security tips that could help keep you and your property safe

While it may not always be possible to prevent a break-in, there are things you can do to help protect your home. Police have reported that homes without security measures in place are five times more likely to be burgled, so what you do could make all the difference. Here are seven simple home security ideas to help keep you and your property safe.

1. Get your lighting right

Timer switches that turn your lights on and off at pre-set times are a great way to deter potential thieves, as they make it look like someone’s home. Fit them to your indoor lights – particularly if you’re going away on holiday or tend to come home after dark.

It’s also worth investing in outdoor lighting. Choose motion-sensor models that you can pre-programme to turn on at certain times of the day or night. Police recommend dusk to dawn lights, which use low-energy bulbs. Fit them to the side of external doors or above your porch.

2. Don’t leave things on show

To put off would-be burglars, make sure there’s nothing they can see in your home that might tempt them to break in. Get a letterbox restrictor fitted, so no-one can look through or use it to try and gain access, and make sure all your valuables – like laptops and keys – are out of sight. If you’re going away for a while, consider contacting Royal Mail to temporarily put your post on hold using their Keepsafe service – a pile of unopened letters on your doormat could be enough to encourage intruders.

3. Invest in a security alarm or camera

Yes, they can be pricey, but security alarms and cameras can act as great deterrents for potential burglars. There are lots of different models to choose from, so shop around and pick one with features that’ll work best for you and your home.

In need of some home security on a budget? A replica alarm fitted to the outside of your house is a cheaper alternative. Install a battery-operated alarm to your garage or shed to help keep them secure, too.

4. Lock up every time you leave

This might seem like obvious home security advice, but the Metropolitan Police revealed that 5,000 homes were broken into in just one year by thieves simply walking through unlocked doors. As well as locking up before you leave, check the locks on your external doors meet the BS3621 British Standard. Don’t forget about your windows, too – make sure they’re fitted with a key lock for maximum security.

If you have an outbuilding or patio doors, fit them with weatherproof locks so the mechanism doesn’t get damaged over time. And make sure any sliding doors have an anti-lift lock installed.

Don’t forget about the less obvious ways someone might access your property, too. For example, if you leave your back garden gate open and forget to lock the back door to your home, a would-be thief has an easy route in.

5. Keep your garden well maintained

Overgrown shrubs, bushes or hedges might seem harmless, but they can provide hiding places for potential burglars. Keep hedges and fencing low at the front of your house, so neighbours and passers-by can see your front door.

Planning to be away for a while? Ask a friend or neighbour to come and mow your lawn from time to time, to help keep up the appearance that somebody’s home.

6. Don’t leave tools lying around

Tidy away anything that could help somebody break into your house. The same applies to ladders – particularly if your upstairs windows aren’t completely secure.

Lock your tools away in a shed and fit it with a weatherproof padlock for extra protection. To further reduce temptation for thieves, put up frosted, adhesive vinyl on your shed windows so no one can see inside.

7. Step away from social media

Skip that online ‘check-in’ and save sharing your holiday snaps until you’re back home. Posting that you’re on holiday on social media tells potential thieves your house is empty. Coming back to a break-in will only enhance those post-holiday blues…

Give yourself extra peace of mind with a home insurance policy from M&S Bank. Our choice of standard and premier packages means you can choose the cover that’s right for you and your home.

We’ve also put together a home security checklist to help you tick off things you can do to help keep your home secure.

M&S Home Insurance is underwritten by Aviva Insurance Limited. Terms and conditions apply.