1. Keep it visible

It might feel like your house is more secure behind a high wall or fence but the fact it can’t be seen from the street could make it a more tempting target.

Make sure your property can be easily seen by your neighbours and the public by ensuring hedges, fences and walls at the front are no higher than one metre. That way, you’re not giving an intruder anywhere to hide.

Clever use of lighting can also help to keep burglars at bay. We recommend dusk-till-dawn, low-level white lighting, especially in vulnerable, low visibility areas such as the side or the rear of the property. Lights should be a minimum of three metres above ground with vandal-resistant casings.

2. Create a boundary

By doing this, you’re laying out your patch, marking your territory – and anyone crossing that line uninvited or unauthorised is trespassing.

You can do this in a number of ways, such as a low fence, wall, hedge, flower bed or small bushes. Best to avoid a rockery or large stones as they can be used by vandals. And if you’re having your driveway done, make it a different colour to that of the road.

3. Protect what’s yours

Be sure to safeguard vulnerable points such as ground floor windows with one-metre high sharp, prickly bushes. Nature’s barbed wire, can offer protection and look good too.

Security film – a clear or opaque covering that can be stuck onto windows – makes it harder to smash the glass.

White walls attract vandals with spray cans but anti-graffiti coatings that prevent paint from bonding to surfaces are great deterrents.

4. Don’t make it easy for them

There’s more to security than keeping gates closed and doors, windows and sheds locked.

First off, if you have a surface which anyone can sit on – like a ledge or a low wall – make sure it’s not ‘bottom-friendly’. For example, planters with prickly plants look nice but are a pain for anyone just hanging around or any uninvited guests. Also, secure the side and rear boundary of your property with a two-metre high fence topped with a trellis, which is lightweight and unable to support a person. What’s more, it makes an awful racket if anyone tries to use it to gain access.

5. Keep it tidy

It’s a fact that rubbish attracts rubbish. If a property is messy, some people won’t think twice about adding to it or simply hanging around in the area.

A neat and tidy property conveys a sense of order. That’s why we advise not to leave rubbish, ladders, wheelie bins or anything else that could be used for burglary or vandalism lying around.

Secured by Design

For more advice and up-to-the-minute information about the latest crime prevention products, visit www.securedbydesign.com – an official police security initiative.