THOUGH many wouldn’t think it, the cold and dark win­ter weather can in­crease the risk of break-ins at home.

Shorter days means the house stands in the dark for longer, with many not ar­riv­ing home from work un­til night time or head­ing on hol­i­day to warmer cli­mates. This is an added op­por­tu­nity for thieves to lurk around the prop­erty un­de­tected.

Com­ing home to a break-in can be con­fronting and have a last­ing emo­tional im­pact. A re­cent sur­vey found that 35 per cent of break-in vic­tims ex­pe­ri­enced stress and anx­i­ety and 11 per cent were un­able to be at home alone.

It is im­por­tant to take ex­tra steps to se­cure your home dur­ing the win­ter months. Cre­at­ing the im­pres­sion that some­one is home and in­stalling vis­i­ble se­cu­rity mea­sures, such as CCTV cam­eras or alarm sys­tems, can help to de­ter thieves and re­duce the risk of a break-in.

We rec­om­mend fol­low­ing these seven home se­cu­rity tips to help pro­tect you, your fam­ily and your home:

1. Dou­ble check doors and win­dows are locked be­fore you leave the house. It sounds obvi- ous, but you’d be sur­prised how of­ten it’s not done. Sta­tis­ti­cally 12 per cent of break-ins are through an un­locked win­dow.

2. In­stall time-switch lights. If you travel or get home late, set­ting au­to­matic timers to turn the lights on when it gets dark can help to cre­ate the im­pres­sion that some­one is home.

3. En­sure ac­cess points are well-lit. Ex­te­rior mo­tion-sen­sor lights can also help to de­ter crim­i­nals.

4. Check out­door se­cu­rity equip­ment, such as lights and mo­tion sen­sors, are work­ing prop­erly and haven’t been dam­aged by heavy rain or hail.

5. Cut back shrubs and en­sure the en­trance to the home is vis­i­ble from the street. This elim­i­nates hid­ing spots.

6. Store sum­mer out­door fur­ni­ture and sport­ing equip­ment out-of-sight and un­der lock and key.

7. A mon­i­tored alarm sys­tem is an added layer of se­cu­rity that can pro­vide peace of mind. Seventy-one per cent of peo­ple don’t in­ves­ti­gate or call the po­lice when they hear an alarm, while a mon­i­tored alarm sys­tem en­sures a re­sponse will be ini­ti­ated and the in­ci­dent ap­pro­pri­ately han­dled.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice on how to best pro­tect your home and your fam­ily, call us on 071 9145107 or call into us on the Mall Sligo op­po­site the Hospi­tal for a talk about pro­tect­ing your home.

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