Determined and brazen thieves are using a combination of brute force and
technological know how to steal from rural properties. But there are steps you can take to protect your family and property. Here’s a selection of burglary prevention tips from the UK’s leading rural insurer, NFU Mutual.

The basics
Have an intruder alarm system fitted by a UKAS-approved installer and combine it with signs to deter burglars. Make sure you set it at night and whenever your home is unoccupied.

It’s also important to consider what you publish on social media about recent purchases and planned absences from your home, as criminals can use this information for planning crimes.

Doors and windows
Burglaries can be the result of opportunist thieves gaining entry through open or unlocked doors and windows. For starters, remember: never leave your keys in the lock, and keep your doors and windows locked and bolted, even if you are just elsewhere in the house or garden.

Check that keys and valuables can’t be reached through openings such as a cat flap and add a security device to your letterbox to prevent someone reaching in. 
Make sure doors and their frames are in good condition and that the door hinges are sturdy and secured with strong, long screws. When fitting new locks to external doors, where possible make sure they comply with industry security standards such as BS 3621, and choose a locksmith from the list of official members of the Master Locksmiths Association.

Your valuables
Whenever they are not being used, store valuables such as passports, credit cards, identification documents and jewellery in a safe. Your safe needs to be bolted to a wall or floor, somewhere discreet where it can’t be easily discovered and ideally in an alarmed part of the house.

Property marking makes it easier for the police to trace and recover your possessions. Register with an accredited forensic marking company to assign your valuables their own unique forensic code, allowing them to be traced back to you. The code is simple to apply, cannot be easily seen by the naked eye and is almost impossible to remove.

Register your valuables free of charge using a database such as Immobilise.
Keep documents, such as receipts, so you can prove ownership, and take
photos of all valuable items.

Protect your garden
It’s easy to focus on what’s within our own four walls and overlook valuables in gardens, garages and other outbuildings.
Thefts from gardens and outbuildings may include furniture and other valuable items, including tools, ornaments, bicycles, golf clubs and even plants and trees.

Securing your boundaries
In rural areas, criminals often use vehicles to load up their stolen property and make a quick getaway. If they can’t get close to the target they will more than likely move on to somewhere easier. So, take steps to secure your boundaries, and make it harder and more time consuming for thieves to get close to your property.

Outbuildings
Treat outbuildings like an extension of your house, and never leave a garage, barn, shed or other door open, as valuable items within may be visible to thieves. In addition:

• Consider having an intruder alarm fitted by a UKAS-approved installer to outbuildings containing high value items
• Ensure all doors and windows are of solid construction with suitable padlocks
• If appropriate, consider fitting windows with laminated glass and use an internal screen or blind
• Consider installing additional security to garage doors, such as padlocks or floor-mounted locking T-bars
• Don’t leave ladders and tools outside for burglars to use
• Keep a record of all machinery, tools, vehicles and equipment with photographs and serial numbers where possible. If they are stolen and later recovered it will be much easier for the property to be identified as yours and returned to you.