As the Autumn draws in and the leaves fall, the nights are getting longer and unfortunately this means break-ins become more common.

“It is this time of year when homeowners need to be extra vigilant. It’s a sad fact, but a stark reality of life that the open season for burglars has arrived. However, there are ways and means open to householders to help reduce the risk of burglaries.” Comments Keybury’s own David Lalor.

Here are some Winter home security tips as Halloween and Christmas approach.

1. Don’t lay it on a plate for the opportunist thief: Open doors and windows are particularly vulnerable at this time of year, so check them regularly, particularly when going out or to bed. Also, if you have been out on a shopping trip and are unloading presents from the car, it is not wise to leave the boot open and unattended – even for a short period.

2. Don’t present an open invitation to sneak thieves: If you buy or receive Christmas presents, think about where you’re going to keep them. Many people, quite naturally, store presents under the Christmas tree – not a good idea, particularly if gifts are valuable. Don’t put them on show where they are clearly visible from a window.

3. Don’t make your home an open door: Intruder alarm systems are available that incorporate a built-in chime facility that alerts you every time an external door is opened. Chain locks are also a simple and cheap additional or alternative deterrent.

4. Don’t get caught in the dark: There are specific dates when break-ins occur during the festive season – for example, when people are out at parties or visiting family and friends, particularly over the main Christmas and New Year dates. Security lighting is extremely effective, it’s a recognised fact that a well-lit house can be a major deterrent to the would-be intruder. However, permanent dusk to dawn low wattage lighting is by far the best deterrent.

5. Don’t forget outbuildings: While many people are extremely security conscious about their homes, they can easily forget about the garage, where valuable equipment such as gardening and power tools and mountain bikes are often stored. There’s a very simple and cheap preventative measure that can be undertaken to secure an up-and-over garage door. With the door shut, drill a hole through one of the runners immediately above the wheel and snap on a padlock. In addition, if you have a garage sensor, this can also be monitored by a chimes circuit that will alert you every time the garage door is opened. Rural or isolated properties, farms in particular, are at major risk over the festive season. Ensure that all outbuildings are locked and utility vehicles secured.

6. Don’t lag behind in security provision: Technology in the alarms industry has improved beyond recognition in recent years. Alarms are now available with domestic monitoring that will alert the homeowner if an alarm is activated. The homeowner can then take immediate action by calling the police, a friend or neighbour to investigate. This facility can prove very cost effective from just £99 per year.

7. Don’t skimp on quality: If you’re thinking of upgrading your security provision now that the dark nights have arrived, don’t simply choose the cheapest outfit. By all means, get two or three quotes for a particular job, but always utilise the services of a security company that holds the “Gold” classification from the NSI – the National Security Inspectorate, the industry’s governing body. Top rated gold certification is only awarded to quality assured companies.

8. Don’t leave it too late: Remember, if you want to call in a security company, act now rather than later. Reputable security firms are already very busy at this time of year and waiting lists are mounting. Be on your guard if an outfit says it can do the job tomorrow and asks for cash up front. Note, that with the expense of Christmas looming, a reputable security firm should offer easy payment terms without an onerous financial contract to help spread the cost of any work required.

Keybury Fire and Security are one of the leading companies in the regional security sector and one of the few firms in its trading heartland to hold membership of both NACOSS(NSI), with a top-rated gold classification, and the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the professional trade association for the UK security industry.

As the Autumn changes to Winter and the clocks go back, remember to make sure your alarm panel time is changed. We have some handy “how to” videos to help you with this on our YouTube channel!