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My experience of a break-in and tips to prevent burglary, robbery & theft

I woke up startled. There were noises coming from the drive, right outside my bedroom window and I immediately felt anxious. I looked over to my brother who slept soundly in the bed next to mine. Could he not hear the noises too? Maybe I'd misheard but it really felt like someone was on our driveway. I tried to go back to sleep but something niggled at my brain and told me I needed to go and tell my mum and dad. I crept into their room and woke them up. "I think there's someone outside our house," I told them. Dad peered out of their bedroom window but couldn't see anyone. It was the middle of the night and pitch black. I was convinced there was someone there, I'd heard them and the bedroom I shared with my brother (we were only small children) was right at the front of the house, next to the driveway, where my Dad's van was parked. I went back to bed, still with the feeling that something was wrong.

The next morning, we were getting ready for our friends to arrive, when my Dad opened the backdoor and realised his van had been broken into. There was glass all over the drive where they'd smashed the back window (the noise I'd heard) and his tools were missing. Someone had, had the audacity to step onto our property, break into his van and steal the tools he'd worked so hard to buy.

At the time I remember being really upset for him and scared that it was going to happen again. Something like that is really unnerving for anyone, let alone children. Now, as an adult it really angers me that criminals out there do this to people. They think it's okay to enter people's homes, to break into people's vehicles and to take stuff that does not belong to them. Do they not think about the effect it has on that person? Their family? Their finances and their well-being? Clearly they can't because surely, if they really thought about it, no one would do such a thing to another human being. But I guess, unfortunately, this is the world we live in and instead of dwelling on it, we have to instead take steps to avoid home break-ins and vehicle theft.

In collaboration with DPP Law, I am sharing some of my tips to prevent burglary, robbery and theft. Click here to learn more about their specialist solicitors services.

Don't tell the world you're going on holiday

I see so many people on social media excitedly telling everyone about their upcoming holiday (or posting snaps while they're away) and I can't help but feel they're potentially putting their homes at risk of a break-in. It's all well and good if you've got someone house-sitting for you but if not, I'd be keeping this information to yourself. As great as it is to share your excitement, there'd be nothing worse than coming from your trip to find your house had been burgled, would there?

Put a timer on your lights / install electronic blinds

If you're out of the house a lot, you may want to consider putting a timer on your lights or installing electronic blinds. You can program these to turn on and off and open and close at certain times, to make your home look more 'lived-in' during the day. This will help to create the illusion that someone is at home and even the most confident criminals aren't going to risk breaking into a home, in daylight, with someone potentially inside.

Don't leave expensive items on show

We're often reminded in car parks to lock away or take expensive items like iPads, laptops and phones with us, when we've parked up but what about in our own homes? It's good practice to avoid leaving expensive items on window sills or out on display. Fencing your front garden and adding a lockable gate will also help to prevent people from being able to walk up to your house easily and peer through the windows.

Take tools out of your van

If you have a work vehicle, I highly recommend taking any tools or equipment out of it at the end of each day - especially after what happened to us! Locking them in your home or a garage is much more advisable. Sure, it can be a bit of a pain having to move them to and fro every morning and evening but at least they'll be harder for thieves to get to.

Lock your windows

Locking your windows and doors (and double checking before you go out) may sound like an obvious one but it's something that I imagine people often forget in the summer time, when the weather's warmer and the windows are open. We're really good at keeping our windows locked (because of having a small child) but it's something that should be on everyone's minds before they leave the house. It's worth that extra 30 seconds to whizz round and check everything's secured.

A dog will be your best friend

Obviously I would never suggest anyone goes out and buys a dog for security reasons. There is so much more to having a dog! But one of the great things about our four-legged-friends is that they tend to bark when people come to the door or they hear a noise. Our dog only has to see someone walk by and he'll have a bit of a bark! I feel a lot safer knowing he's here with us and that dogs (especially big ones like him) do tend to put off burglars.

Has your home or vehicle ever been broken into? What tips would you add to help prevent burglary, robbery and theft?

Megan x
Collaborative content.
Image credits: Photo Mix LTD & Burak Kebapci

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