Police issue tips to householders to keep their homes safe

PC Steve McGill wants you to secure your home. Picture: Toby Williams
PC Steve McGill wants you to secure your home. Picture: Toby Williams
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DID you know that keeping your hedge trimmed and moving your wheelie bins away from the fence could stop you being burgled?

The city’s police have been running a long-fought campaign to reduce the number of house break-ins across Edinburgh.

But now they may have just the answer – with homeowner tips to keep a property in tip-top, burglar-free shape.

Some of the recommendations on offer from officers are common sense, including ensuring you lock your doors and not leaving car keys near the front door. But there are a handful of lesser-known nuggets, which could help make sure your house remains your castle, and not a haven for would-be burglars.

One of these is to keep your garden hedge trimmed to 
create “natural surveillance”, ensuring your neighbours can spot anything suspicious outside your home.

Keeping the hedges well-groomed also ensures any potential thief will see you are at home and have not decided to fly the coop on holiday.

The News joined Constable Steve McGill at a home in East Craigs to take a look at weak spots which could prove inviting to burglars.

PC McGill said: “The majority of people have adequate security – the problem is that they don’t use it.

“I’ve lost count of the people who have alarm systems, but don’t have them on. People leave their doors open and don’t set alarms.

“Thieves will come up and look through the window or letter box. Even though you have got an alarm system, they will take that gamble.

“They’re trying to maximise the time they have got. It’s a smash and grab.”

In many cases, criminals will target a house because they notice an expensive car parked in the driveway – so householders need to make sure that their keys aren’t left lying anywhere they could be snatched.

PC McGill checked the front and back doors of the property, and advised that keys should always be taken out of doors and windows.

Investing in a low energy dusk-till-dawn porch light and a light over the back door are also recommended.

PC McGill said residents without an alarm, should consider installing one, as thieves are always on the look-out for the “easiest target”.

And it is not a good idea to push wheelie bins or ladders near the back fence as these can be used as a “climbing aid”.

According to police, burglars are more likely to break in from the back than the front.

“Think about how the people will get out as well as how they get in,” PC McGill said. “They are always looking out for an easy exit.”

If householders are going on holiday, it is recommended they store valuable goods safely and out of sight.

In flats, thieves will target doors locked only with a Yale rather than secured with a mortice lock. “You’ve got to make you less of a target,” PC McGill said.