• Research figures suggest that poor home security can significantly increase your risk of being burgled
  • Your home may be at risk while you're on holiday
  • Ideas for how to make your home more secure

According to research by UK Locksmiths, one in 50 households is burgled every year and a house or car gets broken into or vandalised every seven seconds across England and Wales. What's more, burglary statistics tend to peak in the summer months, as people are more likely to be on holiday, leaving their home vulnerable to thieves.

Being burgled can be a traumatic experience and many homeowners are alarmed at how easily someone has got into their home. The research revealed that 24% of burglaries are through the window, 73% are through the front door and in only 29% of burglaries, the burglar had to force the lock to get in.

There are lots of ways in which you can make your home less tempting to burglars. We’ve put together our top five tips to make your home more secure.

1. Lock windows and doors and make it look like someone is home

It may sound obvious but thieves are opportunists, so make sure you lock all windows and doors when you go out – even if you're just nipping to the corner shop.

If you're away from home for a few days, you can deter intruders by investing in some timer switches to turn your lights on and off and asking a friend or neighbour to park their car on your driveway.

2. Keep your keys safe

Keys can be fished through letterboxes from outside, so try not to leave them in or around your front door. It's also wise to resist the temptation to hide a spare key outside; particularly somewhere obvious such as under the doormat or in a plant pot.

3. Don't advertise the fact that you're going away

It's only natural to want to tell everyone about your five-star holiday to Barbados but that could be an invitation to thieves, so it's best not to advertise your holidays on social media sites. Don't put travel plans online, "check-in", or post photos while you are away; save sharing your snaps 'til you get back.

4. Install security systems

As well as acting as a deterrent for anyone who's up to no good, security lights can help you feel safer when you get home after dark. You could also consider installing a burglar alarm. From simple motion-trigged alarms to systems that transmit CCTV images to your mobile phone, there's a wide range to choose from.

You could also consider growing natural barricades around your property, such as prickly hedges to help protect your home. Blue Spruce, Firethorn and Purple Berberis all have thorny stems which could put off potential intruders.

5. Get adequate cover

Lastly, make sure your home insurance policy is up to date and that it covers all of your belongings. It might also be a good idea to take photos of your valuables as that can often make it easier if you have to claim on your insurance.