1. Physical protection is best

Physical protection and barriers such as palisade-style fencing or good quality electric fencing is no match when it comes to deterring would-be burglars.

Leaving keys on hooks and on counters and desks is a no-no.

Motion beams or outdoor passives are a great backup to good physical security, he says, as they provide early detection and an alarm, should the physical barriers fail.

2. Don’t be an easy target

The longer it takes to break into your home, the less likely it is that this will happen. Avoid anything that can make your home an easy target. Keep bushes, trees and foliage trimmed back so that there are no hiding places for intruders and keep entrance areas well lit. Be careful not to leave garage doors unlocked or open to advertise the contents stored within. To deter would-be intruders, trim bushes and trees, keep garage doors closed and keep the entryway wll lit. Get a guard-dog that has been trained to bark at any disturbance and talk to the children about the importance of identifying who is trying to gain access to the home.

3. Don’t ignore the intercom

If the gate buzzer or intercom rings at any hour of the day or night do not ignore it. Brown says that some criminals use this as a method to check whether the occupants of the property are home. If it is ignored, an armed intruder may take that as an invitation to proceed to enter. If the intercom does not work, remove or repair it as soon as possible. Get a guard-dog that has been trained to bark at any disturbance.

4. Never advertise being away

Most criminals want to avoid a confrontational situation, so they would rather break into a home while the occupants are not there. Signs such as uncollected post can make the property more vulnerable to burglary. Homeowners who don’t already have timers, should consider installing timers for the lights, for both inside and outside the home, and leave a car where it is safe but visible from the outside.

5. Don’t keep keys in usual places

A new trend among certain syndicates of housebreakers is to take your vehicle in addition to your household belongings. To combat this, keys and their spares should be kept out of all the usual places. Keeping them on key hooks and on counters and desks is a no-no. Homeowners who are going away on holiday should make sure that their keys are hidden safely away.

6. Be involved

Join your local community policing forum and get fellow residents together to form a neighbourhood watch with shared time schedules. There is no fool-proof way of ensuring that your home and occupants will be protected at all times, being prepared and taking the necessary precautions is a step in the right direction.