Secure your property and remain vigilant

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Police in Ballymoney are advising members of the public to help protect themselves against burglary and theft by taking a few minutes each day to properly secure their property.

Chief Inspector John Magill said, “Domestic burglary and theft, in both towns and rural areas are key priorities for the police in Ballymoney . They are issues which strike at the very heart of our community. When someone breaks into your home and helps themselves to your possessions - it is not just the expense that hurts. Despite articles on home security in local newspapers and crime reduction initiatives being carried out, a high percentage of domestic burglaries across the District are via unlocked doors and windows. Householders need to to take steps to secure their own property.”

There are a few things you can do to lessen your chances of becoming a victim. When you walk out that door `Close it, lock it, check it` to make sure your home is secure.

If your doors aren’t secure, neither is your house. Make sure your doors are strong enough, fit mortise deadlocks, door chains and viewers and use them.

Never leave keys in the locks, on tabletops or hooks in view of external windows. Never hide spare keys under doormats, flower pots etc - thieves aren’t stupid - hidden keys make life easy for the burglar.

Whether your window frames are wood, metal or UPVC, there are various locks available, suitable for fitting to all window-type openings. If your window does not already have a keyed lock fitted, then consider having suitable locks fitted, particularly on ground floor windows or upper windows that may be easily accessed from a flat roof.

NB: Before fitting any locks to doors or windows, make sure it does not invalidate any warranties.

Take a look at what most garages or outbuildings contain and calculate the value of the items to yourself or the thief. Always lock your garage or outbuildings - remember tools or ladders stored there may be used to assist the criminal in breaking into your home.

Do not allow the criminal easy access to the rear of your home. Fit a strong, high gate or fence and ensure it is fitted with a good lock. An alternative is to establish a good thorny hedge that cannot be pushed through.

Exterior lights are useful in discouraging the attention of criminals, as it raises the potential of them being seen in the vicinity of your home by either yourself or a neighbour. Most forms of security lighting are best controlled by photo-electric cells that switch on as dark approaches and off again as dawn breaks, or PIR motion detection sensor switches, or by timer switches.

Consider installing a safe. Small domestic safes are available for the storage of cash, jewellery, personal papers and come in various sizes and types. All should be properly installed to prevent them being carried from the home. They should be security bolted to a solid wall or floor; some under-floor types require to be bolted to floor joists. If you install a key operated safe, do not leave the keys accessible to an intruder.

Visible intruder alarms will often be a deterrent to a burglar. If you decide to have one fitted, make sure it is installed by a reputable company and meets recognised standards required by the National Security Inspectorate or Security Systems and Alarms Inspectorate Board. Most modern alarms allow for the user to partially set their systems, even when at home. Some insurance companies may provide discounts on insurance premiums following the installation of an alarm.

It is equally as important for neighbours to look out for each other. You know who lives in your neighbourhood so if you see someone acting suspiciously, or unknown vehicles outside properties, note down any important details such as a description or car registration and contact police immediately. Police will follow up on your call and there is every possibility your prompt information could prevent a crime.

Further crime prevention advice can be obtained from your local Crime Prevention Officer on 0845 600 8000. You can also find further information about home security on the following website - www.howsecureismyhome.com