Step 1: Lock down
All external doors should be fitted with adequate locks; mortice locks are ideal. See VideoJug's 'How to fit a Mortice Lock' for full instructions on how to do this. Secluded back and side doors are more commonly used by burglars than the front entrance, so pay these just as much attention, if not more. If you leave the back door open during summer it may be wise to fit a security chain, preventing unwelcome visitors.
Most thieves are opportunists, an open window makes it easy for them to reach through and grab what's at hand. Remove this temptation by closing the windows in the rooms you are not using. Every time you leave the house ensure they are securely shut, take the extra precaution to fit good locks too.
Contact the Crime Prevention Office at your local police station, they will be able to advise you on which type of lock and security measures are the most suitable for your home.
Step 2: Alarms
Burglar alarms are excellent deterrents to would be thieves. The Neighbourhood Watch Trust advises fitting the exterior alarm boxes which have blue strobe lights attached. These make it easy to identify which property has its system activated, and prompts action. The noise of the siren, although effective is not as direct, making it difficult to locate the source.
If you have a false alarm box fitted, make sure it is printed with the name of a false security firm, and a false telephone number. A blank alarm box screams 'Fake'
Alarm boxes are controlled by 4 digit security numbers. Avoid picking a year as your code, it may be easy to remember but most thieves have worked this out too. Therefore they already have the 1 and 9, lowering the odds of guessing the remaining 2 digits.
Step 3: Outdoor precautions
Sensor activated lights are relatively cheap and easy to fit to the exterior of your house. They are great at deterring theft, and give you the extra security of being able to see into your garden at night.
If you have large bushes or plants obscuring the front of your house trim them back; they are the perfect cover for a thief to break in unnoticed.
Step 4: Property marking
Identification is key to having valuable property returned if it is ever stolen.
Use an Ultra Violet pen to write your postcode and house number on any larger items such as computers, TV's, DVD's and stereos. Over time the marking will fade so reapply every year. Don't forget to mark new items you may have bought in the mean time.
With delicate, or smaller items take clear, detailed photographs. Give a sense of scale by putting a ruler in shot. These photos may be useful for insurance purposes, as well as theft recovery
Step 5: Know your neighbours
Your neighbours are your biggest ally in keeping your home safe, so if you aren't acquainted with 'them next door' go and introduce yourself.
If you trust them enough give them a spare set of keys, rely on them to look after your house when you go on holiday and do the same for them.
If there isn't already a neighbourhood watch scheme in your area, take the plunge and set one up. Go to www.neighbourhoodwatch.net to see exactly how to do this. If you aren't based in the UK, look into what schemes are set up in your country.
Now you're savvy about house security go to VideoJug's 'How to secure your garden.' This will take you through the steps necessary to protect you outdoor property.