A Guide To Keeping Your Home & Valuables Safe

When protecting your home Think WIDE(N) (WINDOWS, INTERIOR, DOORS, EXTERIOR, (NEIGHBOURS) to have the best possible protection against burglary. 

Research shows that a set combination of security actions provides up to 50 times more protection for your home versus no security. A combination of WIDE actions is the most effective and recommended by police throughout the country.

WINDOWS: Lock your windows 

INTERIOR: Put your interior lights on a timer

DOORS: Double or deadlock your doors

EXTERIOR: Put your exterior lights on a sensor

(N)EIGHBOURS: Keep an eye out for neighbours

As with all types of crime, prevention is much better than cure. Taking the below simple measures can significantly reduce your chances of being burgled.

Keep windows and doors locked when you go out, even if it’s just for a few minutes. We recommend you keep doors locked even when you’re in the house as offenders may still try to gain access.

Make sure side and back gates are secure.

Be wary of sign of a distraction burglary, where more than one person calls at your door, trying to dupe you into letting one caller in to burgle you whilst you are distracted by another one.

Consider fitting an approved burglar alarm system.

Join or start a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. Membership of a scheme is a proven deterrent to burglars.

If you go out in the evening, close curtains, and use automatic timer switches to turn your lights on when it goes dark. Set the timers so they go on and off at different times in different rooms.

Use timer switches to turn on a radio but tune it to a station which has mostly talking.

Keep keys, including shed and car keys in a place where they’re not visible to anyone looking in. Keep them out of reach of windows and doors. Don’t leave keys in the door and never hide a spare key outside.

Insure your belongings. Many insurance companies offer reduced premiums for people with good home security, but make sure you lock your home properly and switch on any alarm; otherwise, you may not be covered.

Avoid keeping large sums of money at home.

Don’t keep cheque books and cheque cards together and don’t write down PIN numbers for credit or debit cards.

Keep documents containing personal details such as bank statements and passports out of sight; if no longer needed, carefully dispose of, or shred these items.

Consider keeping expensive jewellery, house deeds and other important items in a home safe anchored to the brickwork.

Don’t leave garden tools outside, keep ladders out of sight and ensure sheds, garages and outbuildings are locked.

Even when you’re at home, try not to leave accessible windows open at night.

Christmas is a key time for burglaries, with many houses full of new and valuable presents. Don’t alert burglars by leaving present packaging outside, put it all in your recycling box out of sight.

Never give your keys to anyone you do not know well. Change the locks when you move house so that you know exactly who has keys.

Consider using a fake TV simulator.  It’s a flickering light that makes it seem to anyone looking into your windows that your home is occupied – even when it isn’t. A sensor automatically triggers the Fake TV at dusk.

Quick tips for securing your property

Use UV or indelible pens, postcode etching or chemically coded systems to mark your property and make it difficult for thieves to sell it on.

Register your property for free at https://www.secureassetregister.com/en-gb it only takes a few minutes and could help you get your property back if it is lost or stolen. Don’t forget to upload photos for free too!

Photograph highly valuable items such as jewellery, paintings, and antiques. Keep the pictures in a safe place, outside your home.

Sash jammers provide additional home security for uPVC windows and doors. The sash jammer handle pivots and is secured over the frame, making it harder for someone to force entry.

Garden and shed security

Your garden should be your first line of defence against burglars. If someone can get into your garden easily without attracting attention it will give them more time to steal from you. Making your garden more secure could prevent an intruder from getting into your home, garage or shed.

Installing strong fences or gates will act as a deterrent, preventing intruders getting into your garden. Ideally any gates, fencing, walls and hedges at the front of your house should not be more than 1.2m (4ft) so the front of your property can be seen by passers-by. A standard 1.8m (6ft) wall or fence at the back of your house is sufficient. Increase the height to 2m (6ft6in) if there is public access on the other side – any higher than this and you will need planning permission.

Trellis fixed to the top of a fence is not only decorative but can provide extra protection as it is difficult to climb over, breaking easily and noisily.

If there is an access point to your garden at the side of your house a strong lockable gate will act as a deterrent. Fit good quality locks that cannot be reached from over the fence.

Garden gates should be at least the same height and strength as your fencing with hinges securely attached to the gateposts.

If you store larger items such as bikes in a shed, make sure it is secure and use bike locks.

Planting prickly plants or a hedge, such as firethorn, climbing rose or hawthorn, around the perimeter of your garden can be a powerful deterrent.

Gravel on paths and driveways can act as an alert to someone coming towards your property.

Install dusk to dawn security lighting. The low energy lamp stays on in the dark and switches off when it starts to get light.

Secure garden furniture and wheelie bins so they cannot be used to climb on and gain access to upstairs windows. Keep them locked in a garage or shed or chained to a wall.

Do not leave tools, gardening equipment or debris lying around the garden as they could be used to smash windows.

While working in your garden, make sure doors and windows are locked to stop unwanted visitors entering without your knowledge, it only takes a few seconds.

Do not use barbed wire, razor wire or broken glass on walls or fences to protect your property. You could be held legally responsible for any injuries caused. Plastic spikes are a legal and safer alternative to the traditional use of gripper rods and glass on exterior walls and fences and is available on the internet in a variety of colours.

If you have an enclosed private garden, consider CCTV.

Top Tips to Keep Your Car Safe:

Leave your car locked

A simple mistake that can prove calamitous: 44% of cars were broken into via an unlocked door.

Leave your car empty

Owners often forget that personal belongings within the car are at as much risk of being stolen as the car itself. 

Following 3 simple steps (leave your car locked, well-lit, and empty) will help to keep your car safe, but there are further steps you could take:

Store car ownership information at home, not in your car

Secure number plates with anti-theft screws available from car accessory stores

Keep your car keys out of sight in your home

Use a Sold Secure soldsecure.com approved anti-theft device on your car. You can search for suppliers on securedbydesign.com

When parking in a car park, look for a ‘Park Mark’ parkmark.co.uk indicating the car park meets recognised security levels

Fit locking, anti-tamper wheel nuts to secure alloy wheels

Secure items outside of your vehicle. Anything left on roof-racks, tailgate racks, holiday top boxes or in tool chests are easily stolen when the vehicle is parked. The use of cable locks, padlocks, and self-locking tools chests, which are secured to the vehicle, makes them more secure, but still, don’t leave things in them if you can avoid it.

Top tips for protecting your bicycle:

Register your bike for free with Bike Register, the UK’s only police-approved cycle database. This will help police to find it if it gets stolen.

Take a photo of your bike and keep it with the insurance details. Make a note of the make, model, and serial number.

When parking away from home make sure your bike is locked to a heavy-duty piece of street furniture and where possible with the lock or chain off the floor; and leave it in a well-lit place ideally with CCTV

Make sure the lock you use is independently tested (e.g. Sold Secure approved), the correct size and difficult for thieves to access to break it.

At home, lock bicycles in a secure garage or shed if you have one, using a good quality U-lock or chain and padlock to a ground anchor. Consider using two different types of security devices, as often tools to attack one type of device aren’t so applicable to others.

Mark your bicycle frame with your postcode in two separate locations, if possible, one of which should be hidden.

Ensure your bike if it is high value

Remove accessories such as lights when the bike is left. Consider a quick-release saddle that you can take away with you, to make it less tempting to ride the bike away

Make sure quick-release wheels are securely locked

Fit a hidden tracker


show your bike on social media – it could be targeted by thieves

use a locking device that can be cut through easily and quickly

lock or lean your bike against railings, signposts, lamp columns, street signs, trees and tree guards, sides of bus shelters

leave your bike in the same predictable place

leave your bike in communal hallways


101 is the number to call when you want to contact your local police – when it is less urgent than a 999 call. 101 is available 24/7. In emergencies always call 999. You can also report an incident online at https://services.northumbria.police.uk/online-services/contact-your-local-team.

If you want to form a Neighbourhood Watch Group, please contact Sue Wannop on 0191 277 3536 or email sue.wannop@newcastle.gov.uk.

You can find out more about Neighbourhood Watch using the link below to enter your postcode to find out if there is a Neighbourhood Watch near you: www.ourwatch.org.uk

Newcastle Great Park Management Company.