As there are some 700 cases of breaking and entering every day your home could be next on the list. Yet it costs comparatively little to protect a house from burglars—if you make it difficult then hopefully they will try next door. An average six-roomed house can be made reasonably secure by means of standard mortice locks on front and back doors, two door chains, internal door bolts and window and fanlight locks for a cost of about £100 ($176).
Basic burglar-proofing First of all look at your house and if there is a glass pane or thin wooden panel in the front or back door, or next to it, fit a “deadlock”—the type which has to be operated by a key, or a mortice locking latch, conforming to British Standard 3621. A light metal grille acts as an extra protection on a glazed door. Whenever you leave the house unoccupied, even if you are only going down the road, close and lock all downstairs windows (and upstairs ones if they are easily accessible) and lock internal doors. Always do this last thing at night, checking front and back doors, putting on the chains and closing bolts if these are fitted.
There are patent locks available to fit most types of window and, as ordinary barrel bolts can be opened by a jemmy, experts recommend the vertical type which fit into the floor and above the door—there are also special hinge bolts which fit into the door frame on the hinge side making it virtually impossible for the door to be wrenched off.
Never leave your key on a string inside the letter box, or under the door mat, or under a flower pot. Have enough cut so each member of the family who needs a key can have one. Never leave a note on the front or back door saying you will be away for a few minutes and always remember to cancel the milk, newspapers and any other deliveries when you are away. Try to tell the milkman when you will be away, rather than leave a note in the bottle. Never leave spare cash lying about. If you have to have cash in the house, then fit a wall safe.
After dark be on your guard—make sure of callers identity by fitting a door viewer or door chain, and remember to lock external doors and windows, close and lock the garage, make sure the bicycles are locked away before you sit down for the evening—many burglars break in and steal cash, silver, jewellery etc. from other rooms while the family is watching television in the sitting-room. Finally, if you go out for the evening, by all means leave lights on, but not just in the hall—this tells the would-be intruder that you are out—it is better to light the sitting-room and leave a radio set on. Or you might operate lights in different rooms on a time switch_ When you go away on holiday or for the weekend, leave a key with a neighbour and ask them to draw curtains, switch on lights etc_ You can always do the same for them when they are away. Remember, if you see or hear anything suspicious the police would much prefer you to call them on 999, even if it turns out to be a false alarm.
Alarm systems If you want to make it really difficult for burglars to enter your house, then there are several companies who specialise in burglar alarm systems, and who will come and give advice and cost estimates. However, you can get initial advice from the local crime prevention officer free.