As one of the island’s leading home insurers, Argus encourages all home owners to carry out regular security surveys of their property. Check that all windows and doors are secure. Prune overhanging trees so they cannot be used to gain access to the property. Make sure that ladders, and other tall items, are not left in the garden when you are away as they can be used to gain access to first floor windows. Where possible, ensure that a view of these entrances is not obscured from the road by overgrown foliage, which helps to conceal unauthorised access.
Padlock external buildings, such as sheds, so opportunists can’t get to tools, rope, etc. that could help them break in. You can borrow engraving equipment free of charge from Somerset, Hamilton and St. George’s police stations to ‘U’ mark valuable items that are kept outside, such as bicycles, to help identify them if they are stolen, but it’s better to lock them to something secure, if you can.
Consider whether your house looks well-maintained. A new lick of paint and a kempt lawn will let potential thieves know property is cared for which will signal to them that it may be more difficult to break in.
For more tips on keeping your property secure, the Bermuda Police Service has produced a free ‘Protecting Your Home’ brochure available from any police station or at http://www.police.bm/content/protecting-your-home.
Let your neighbours know when you are on vacation and swap contact details so you can alert each other of anything suspicious. Ask them to check your mail as a full mailbox can be an invitation for a burglar. You might want to join a Neighbourhood Watch Group.
There are approximately 100 Neighbourhood Watch groups across Bermuda that are committed to keeping an eye out for unusual behaviour in their neighbourhoods and reporting it to the police or confidentially to Crime Stoppers Bermuda on 800-TIPS (8477). If there is not currently a Neighbourhood Watch Group operating where you live, call Police Crime Prevention at 295-0011 for advice on how to start and operate one.
Sadly, no prevention plan is foolproof, so my final piece of advice is to invest in home contents insurance. This will help you to replace your belongings if you do suffer a break-in. From experience, people are often surprised by how much their contents are worth when combined. The sum total of an iPod, laptop, designer sunglasses, diamond earrings, BlackBerry, television, and expensive handbags alone amounts to a value that most people would have to save for a considerable time in order to have enough money to replace them all. If you have insurance you can make a claim and be back up and running in no time. For more information on securing your home and its contents, contact Argus.