Your house is your castle -- so here's how to defend it properly
• Keep your front gate closed and your windows locked.
• Film or photograph your belongings -- this will help the police, and also with insurance claims.
• Chain up wheelie bins and shred personal papers in your rubbish.
• Display Neighbourhood Watch stickers.
• Wire baskets on letterboxes prevent 'keys fishing' from outside.
• Hide the family calendar.
• Give a trusted neighbour a key.
AND THE NOT SO OBVIOUS . . .
• Dummy alarm boxes are obvious to burglars -- they go to DIY shops too, you know. If you must use one, position it high on a gable wall.
• Thorny flowers planted underneath windows and on climbing trellises are a deterrent -- burglars are conscious of getting scratched and leaving DNA samples.
• Lock all doors when you take a bath -- burglars are always checking for steamy windows.
• Good sensor lights are cheap -- install a few of them around your house. Burglars hate being in the spotlight.
• Decent camera systems will alert your mobile phone to anything suspicious -- and allow you to monitor your home from wherever you are.
• A decent floor safe for expensive items like jewellery and electronics is advisable -- and be sure to get a dial combination as frequently pressed button keys are obvious to thieves.