From investing in an alarm to protecting your valuables, experts in burglary prevention Banham share 10 ways to deter intruders and keep your home secure this winter

1. Always keep your front and back doors locked – even when you are at home.

2. Always close windows when you are out, and ensure French windows and patio doors are secure.

3. Set your burglar alarm whenever you leave your home as many burglaries occur when the alarm is not set. If you don’t have an alarm we recommend you get one fitted.

4. Never leave door or car keys, wallets or handbags within reach of a letter box, door or window. Never leave keys in the door either, as this can make it easy for a burglar to reach in and unlock the door. 

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5. Mark your valuables with a forensic property marking product and place signs and stickers around your home, making it clear that your property is marked. Photograph your valuables and keep a description of them.

6. Always secure your shed or garage and don’t leave ladders or other tools outside – spades, hammers and screwdrivers can all help a burglar gain access to your home.

7. Around half of all burglaries happen in empty homes. Make sure your home looks occupied when you are out, for example, by using an automatic timer to switch the lights on and off.

8. Before going away on holiday cancel milk, newspaper and other regular deliveries and ask a friend or your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme to keep an eye on your home while you are away. 

9. Don’t let ‘distraction burglars’ or bogus callers trick their way into your home. Use a door chain, always check their identity card carefully, and if in doubt, keep them out!

10. Take extra care during the Christmas and New Year period. Don’t leave Christmas presents under the tree in view of the windows – keep them in a secure place until Christmas Day