Don’t leave your car keys in the car.

Last year, around 18% of car thefts are the result of opportunist thieves taking cars where the owner has left the keys in the ignition.
It’s a timely warning with cold winter mornings approaching, where it may be tempting to start your car up, to warm up and defrost windows, whilst you go back inside.
But it doesn’t have to happen on your drive.
Drivers are also falling foul of opportunists when stopping to use cash-point machines or calling at newsagents. You’re not even immune if you leave your keys in the ignition whilst at a petrol station.
The answer is obvious – don’t leave your car keys in the car, unattended. Even at home.
Car thefts from your home are also highly worrying as, in most cases, the thieves also get away with a set of your house keys too. The aftermath of dealing with the theft of your car is bad enough but having to get emergency locksmiths  etc or changing all your home’s door locks yourself is a costly business.
The largest percentage of car thefts – 37% – were as a result of thieves breaking into property and stealing the vehicle keys.
You have been warned.

How secure do you feel in your home? Window security a priority.

Last year, house burglaries which included the theft of a vehicle rose from 6% to 7%. Car keys were stolen in 9% of burglaries even if the vehicle wasn’t stolen.
The figures recently published by the Prudential, highlight the need for vigilance in all matters related to home security. This obviously includes home improvements – from choosing new windows and doors to fitting a conservatory or converting a garage (especially where the garage is integral to the house).
Because you’re going to be living with your windows and doors for a very long time, make sure when discussing home improvements with company reps that you discuss the issue of security.
The Police design initiative – Secure by Design – is just one example used by some companies to show that their products have been officially recognised as meeting a ‘Police preferred specification’.
Windows and doors should be internally beaded and door locks should preferably be shielded from tampering with from the outside. Remember smaller window ‘openers’ will help stop intruders, particularly if you like to leave a window open at night.
Locking handles can often lock the window opener ajar – enough for ventilation but not enough to get a hand through.
Patio doors (sliding doors) should be fitted with some form of anti- prising lock or mechanism, to prevent would-be intruders simply crow-barring the door off its rail and gaining entry.
French doors should have good multipoint locking systems to deter thieves. This includes exterior doors on porches, conservatories, sunrooms and orangeries. If there’s a door between your house and the conservatory, then for added security you could make that a lockable door also.
Finally, don’t leave keys in plain sight and certainly never in locks. Ingenious intruders can use wire and other means to lure keys through letterboxes etc. If they do manage to break in, don’t make it easy for them to steal property by being able to unlock your doors properly and simply march your belongings out through a fully open door.
With a bit of luck, they’ll decide your house really isn’t worth the hassle and move on.
A couple of exterior tips – gravelled areas on the approach to your house (driveway) or paths leading to doors and windows make a noise – burglars don’t like that. Consider a few well placed security lights and planting some spiky plants along garden boundaries – particularly if your garden backs onto open fields or land.