Most burglaries are committed by 'opportunists'. Criminals pick a house that looks unoccupied, has little or no obvious security and where they think they won't be seen. Therefore by considering the following points you can remove the opportunity for thieves to advantage.

Put yourself in the place of a criminal, view your property through the eyes of a criminal and where you see an opportunity, think about what you can change to reduce the risk.

Imagine your house has many layers, like an onion- start from the outside and work inwards.

Perimeter of property

  1. Check fences and gates- can they be shut and locked?
  2. Check shrubbery and hedges- do they need to be cut back, to reduce hiding areas
  3. Check for easy ways of gaining entry and items around the property that could assist a burglar
  4. Check for good visibility from surrounding houses and roadways
  5. Low boundaries at the front give maximum visibility, but high walls or fences of 1.8m (6ft) provide good security at the rear
  6. Side entrances should be secured with lockable gates. Their height should match that of the rear fence. Make sure the hinges are secure and that the gate cannot simply be lifted off them
  7. Do you have good lighting? Do you use the outside light?

The home


  1. Check the windows from the inside and outside, including the upstairs with access from flat roofs and drain pipes
  2. Are the frames in good condition?
  3. Do you have adequate window locks? A burglar with the right tools will break through a window lock eventually, but this will force the burglar to take more time and make more noise
  4. Do not forget the garage windows. This is more important if the garage is attached to the house with an internal door
  5. Make sure that valuables aren't visible from outside


  1. First focus on external doors. These include french windows, patio doors and internal garage doors
  2. Look at the framework around the doors- is it securely fixed and in good condition
  3. Front doors should ideally be secured in two places. Where possible a five lever mortice deadlock should be used
  4. Do not forget door viewers, and chains for personal security

Outer buildings

The first place that many burglars look is in sheds, garages or outbuildings.

  1. Have you adequately secured them with mortice locks, padlocks or lockable bolts
  2. Is the quality of your security equal to the value of the goods stored?
  3. Windows should, ideally, be secured by window locks
  4. Secure your tools and garden implements with locks
  5. Consider a shed alarm
  6. Property mark tools and equipment prominently and permanently

Internal security

  1. Where possible keep valuables and keys hidden from view. Keep your keys safe they are worth the value of the item they belong to
  2. Items of property should be permanently marked and recorded. Click here to find out more information about this
  3. One cheap but effective method is the use of an ultra violet pen or marker. Request a free UV marker pen by completing the contact us page
  4. Do you have an intruder alarm? Do you use it? Opportunist burglars tend to avoid houses with an intruder alarm fitted.
  5. Light sensitive switches, time switches or programmed switches are a good method of ensuring the house is lit at the right times
  6. Take photographs of high value items, this is very useful to help the police return stolen property to owners and with digital cameras is very easy

By considering these questions you are helping to keep not only your property secure but your community safe.

If you witness any unusual or suspicious activity call North Yorkshire Police in an emergency 999 or non emergency 101.