Crime is not yet so prevalent in Spain compared to other countries, it is nevertheless on the increase.
You may be busy tanning on the sun-drenched beach or by the communal pool, or have just nipped out, to the local shops or for a coffee, but if you're not careful you could be setting yourself up for a very unpleasant homecoming - a burglar can be in and out of your home in two minutes.
Sadly we can tell you many stories of owners of villas and apartments in Spain who have had the misfortune of a break-in at their home. The feeling that someone else has been in your home can live with you for a long time, and in some of the cases we have dealt with the trauma has been too much and owners have decided to sell up and move back to Britain. But the upside is that Spain is a beautiful place to live and less dangerous than certain areas of the UK. The key to real peace of mind is - prevention in the form of security, combined with proper insurance protection.
Here are some general tips that will help to make your Home a safer place to enjoy the Mediterranean sun:
Minimum Security Requirement - multi lever dead lock or security dead lock.
Many doors offer as much protection from a determined thief without a key as they do with one, so you could be at risk despite any other security measures you might employ. This is particularly true of outside doors that include any glass, which can be easily smashed to assist entry.
Outside doors should be secure with multi lever mortice deadlocks or their equivalent. These locks can only be opened by key. A burglar cannot just use a plastic card to push back the tongue of the lock or break a glass panel and reach in to open it.
Doors that you usually lock from the inside - for example the back door should also be fitted with bolts.
If you are considering replacing any external doors consider either a fibreglass or armoured door but make sure the frame is strong enough to hold it!
Double doors should have bolts (preferably security bolts with removable keys) at the top and bottom of both doors as well as a lock.
Patio doors or other glass doors are especially vulnerable to break-ins and should be fitted with a minimum of Key operated locks with double glazing or security glass or Kommerling type lever locks with double glazing or security glass or security metal grills or lockable consortina grills or roll down electric shutters built into structure with lockable bolts on each side.
Glass in doors can be prone to attack but you can minimise the risk by fitting toughened laminated glass (two sheets of glass with a plastic sheet between them).
Most burglaries are through windows. Where grills or rejas have not been fitted, the minimum security requirements are Key operated locks with double glazing or security glass or Kommerling type lever locks with double glazing, security glass, security metal grills or lockable concertina grills or roll down electric shutters built into structure with lockable bolts on each side.
Grills or rejas should not be simply bolted onto the frame of the window but should be embedded into the external wall.
Never leave keys in a lock, always take them with you, and never leave them in a "secret" hiding place - thieves know all the hiding places!
Although not suitable for all properties using external lighting that has been properly fitted and well positioned and detects outside movement can be a good deterrent to burglars and other unwelcome visitors. It is also important to remember to position them, and their cables, high enough so they cannot be reached or tampered with from ground level
A burglar can be in and out of your home within minutes. It is important therefore that you shut and lock all windows and doors no matter how short a time you are going to be away - and don't forget garages and outbuildings too!
Timer or Sensor Switches
Automatic timer switches to switch lights, TVs and radios on to give the impression that someone is at home can also be good, and inexpensive, deterrents.
Many of the safes available from the local DIY store are little more than tin boxes and offer little security at all even if they are embedded in a wall or floor. It makes sense to make it as difficult as possible for the thief to get into a safe never mind remove it totally from your home.s.
There are two types of alarm systems available - a bells only system, which is now no longer a suitable deterrent, or a system connected direct to a central control centre.
Even though a number of our clients go to the expense of installing an alarm system it is quite amazing to find that some people just do not activate the system when they leave their house unoccupied, or even when they are in bed at night. Some people tell us that the alarm would be activated if they got up in the night to visit the bathroom, or that a pet cat or dog moving around would do the same. But a good system properly installed will protect only the entry and exit points to the property - doors and windows - and therefore allow free interior movement.
Jewellery and Small Valuables
These items, along with money, are especially attractive to thieves because they are easily portable.
If you have very expensive jewellery that you only wear every so often, deposit it at your bank where it will be much safer. The cost is low and the peace of mind is high!
When keeping jewellery or other small valuables at home there are a few things you should consider. Firstly never leave valuable items loose in a drawer or in a jewellery box. They are the first places a burglar will look. Don't leave jewellery on a bedside table or anywhere else in view. Try not to keep them hidden anywhere too obvious, like the top of your wardrobe. The best place by far is in a suitable safe.
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