Keep your home and belongings secure

Row of houses

Thank you for your support over Crime Reduction and Safety Fortnight 2016. Attendance at our information stands has been excellent. You’re welcome to visit us for the rest of this week in the Diamond exhibition space for advice, property marking and to pick up a free personal attack alarm. 

Our final message is about keeping homes and belongings secure. Burglars target shared houses because they know there will be more to steal. In Sheffield an average of 230 student homes are burgled each year so this advice is particularly useful for students; please do share it where possible. Thanks, Richard Yates, Security Services.

Most burglars just want an easy life. They want to get in and out of your home as quickly as possible. Don't give them the opportunity. Follow these simple steps to protect your home and valuables.

Secure your doors:

  • One in three burglaries are down to people leaving their doors and windows open and unlocked. Take time to lock up properly whenever you go out and even when you are elsewhere in your property.
  • If you are upstairs or out in the garden, lock your windows and doors downstairs and even in hot weather, keep vulnerable windows locked at night.
  • In many cases, criminals break into the house or flat through the door, either by forcing the lock or by kicking it in, so don't just rely on a Yale lock. Make sure your doors are strong and secure with good, solid mortice locks, preferably a five-lever mortice lock (check your insurance requirements). Students can pick up a checklist for renting a property at our stand in the Diamond.

Secure your windows:

  • Get locks fitted to downstairs windows and any other windows that can be easily accessed from outside.

Outside the house:

  • Keep ladders and tools stored away. Don't leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home. Keep back gates locked and wheelie bins out of the way so they can't be used to scale the wall or to transport stolen goods. Wheelie bins left out after rubbish collection can give the appearance that you are on holiday or away.

Protect your property:

  • Keep anything of value out of sight - do not leave laptops or other valuables on display or close to windows.
  • If you buy expensive items, don't leave the empty boxes outside your house, rip them up and put them in the recycling bin or take them to a recycling centre.
  • Use a light timer. They are a low cost way to make the house look occupied and you can buy these at most supermarkets and DIY stores.
  • Keep cards and cheque books separate. Keep a copy of your card details in a safe, secure place so you can cancel them quickly in the event of them being stolen.
  • ID theft - people rifle through bins so invest in a shredder and use it to destroy your bank statements and other personal correspondence.
  • Don't forget to insure your personal belongings. You might think it's cheaper to take the risk rather pay for insurance, but it would cost you an awful lot more to replace stolen valuables.
  • Keep lists of the make, model and serial numbers of your electronic items to help Police track them down if they are stolen. Take photographs of jewellery and other small valuable items. Secure bikes at home inside a locked shed or garage or by locking them to an immovable object.
  • Mark your valuables with a UV pen and register them for free
  • These tactics will make your valuables less attractive to thieves and increase their chances of being returned to you if they are stolen. Visit our stand in the Diamond where we can help you do this.

Holiday security:

  • Don't draw attention to the house being empty when you go away and when you are out for the night. Burglars look out for newspapers and mail in the letter box, unlit houses after dark and other telltale signs, so try to make it look as though your house is occupied. Install timers to switch lights on and off automatically.

For students - student residences:

  • In the residences most buildings have a shared entrance, be careful who you let in or who follows you into the building. It may seem impolite but resist the temptation to hold the door open to a stranger to let them into the building - it's always best to be cautious. You can quickly explain to the person that you won't let them in because it is a house-security rule, but that they should buzz the person they've come to visit.
  • Lock your bedroom door, even if you are only going down the corridor and never leave your keys in the outside of the door. Don't prop open external fire doors or communal doors, even in hot weather.
  • Report any concerns to the on-site security team via the Edge/Ridge reception or by calling security on 0114 2224085.