Buying, selling or running a home – everything you need to know about your home and garden!

Personal Security


A lot of burglaries can be prevented; opportunist thieves are more common.

Spare keys: – Don’t leave a spare key;

  • under a doormat
  • inside the letterbox
  • in a flowerpot.


Leaving your home empty

  • Don’t advertise your absence!
  • Use electrical time switches to turn lights on and off; use different times each day if possible.
  • Don’t let your TV or video show through a window.
  • Draw the curtains if you are going out for the evening.
  • Get a friend or neighbour to collect mail left in the letter box, adjust the curtains, water the hanging baskets, sweep up the leaves in autumn, clear a pathway through the snow, even mow the lawn!
  • Cancel the delivery of milk and papers.
  • Mark valuables with your postcode.
  • Keep a list of serial numbers of your TV, video, hi-fi, computer equipment, bicycles etc. The numbers will assist both the police and insurance companies.


Insurance companies may offer lower premiums to people who fit their homes with approved security devices. Some insurers offer discounts for belonging to a Home or Neighbourhood watch scheme.

Your bank or building society may be willing to lend you the money for extra security and add it to your mortgage.

General security tips

You should be extremely careful about letting strangers into your home. If you have done so but then feel uneasy or threatened, don’t hesitate to leave yourself. Make an excuse such as, “I’ll just let the cat in,” and go straight to a neighbour’s house, either bringing them back with you or call the police.

Could a house’s previous owner/tenant still have keys? – Change the locks.

Don’t give Keys to workmen or tradesmen as they can easily be copied.

Use only your surname and initials in the telephone directory or a doorplate / entry system. This will ensure that a stranger will not know whether a man or woman lives at the address.

If you see signs of a break in on returning home, don’t go in. The burglar may still be inside. Go to a neighbour and contact the police.

If you are selling your house, don’t show strangers around on your own. Ask your estate agent to send a representative with anyone who wishes to view. Only accept viewings by appointment through your estate agent.

When answering the telephone do not give your name or number, just say “Hello”. Never reveal any information about yourself to a stranger and never say that you are alone in the house.

If you receive abusive/threatening telephone calls just put the receiver down next to the phone and walk away. Come back in 5 minutes later and put it back on the hook.


Do not say anything! – An emotional reaction is just what the caller wants. If the calls continue, contact the police.