As part of their Operation Bumblebee programme, the Metropolitan Police have published a top ten list of things that make a home attractive to burglars. We’re sharing that list with you in this post, and offering advice on how to ruin the attraction and keep those unwanted intruders at bay.

Operation Bumblebee was set up by the Metropolitan Police to target burglars in London. Here is their list of ten ‘features’ of a home that burglars consider beneficial, each followed by advice from our security experts.

1. High front boundary

Burglars love privacy when attempting a break-in and a high front boundary gives them just that, obscuring the view from the street or properties opposite. Our advice: reduce the height of the boundary where possible. Otherwise, erect secure boundary walls or fences that are designed to prevent climbing and penetration, and choose high security gates, preferably models with remote access control. You’ll need to consider health and safety if you are opting for boundary walls and fences with toppers that could potentially injure someone. A security professional will be able to advise you accordingly.

2. Low side and rear boundaries

The side and rear of a property are favourite entry points for burglars who can often go undetected. Our advice: increase the height of your side and rear fences or walls and plant ‘defensively’ with the spikiest shrubbery you can find. Make your side and driveway gates the same height as the boundaries around them to remove the possibility to climb. Keep all side and rear gates locked.

3. Accessible wheelie bins

Wheelie bins can be used to access entry points at height. Our advice: keep all bins stored behind locked gates and ensure they are returned as soon as possible after your regular collection.

4. No visible intruder alarm

Intruder alarms obviously have a practical benefit, alerting you or a security or emergency response service in the event of an attempted break-in. But their mere presence will also act as a deterrent. Our advice: install a visible intruder alarm that suits your particular purposes, property type and risk level. There are numerous options to choose from and taking advice from a security professional who will ensure you select the most appropriate model is essential. The police recommend using an installer who is affiliated to an inspectorate such as the National Security Inspectorate (NSI). Bear in mind that DIY alarms will not necessarily receive a police response.

5. No security lighting

As soon as darkness falls, so burglars benefit from natural cover. Our advice: when surveying a neighbourhood for potential access, any property that is shedding light onto entry points will prove a no-no. Dusk till dawn lighting will boost visibility and act as an effective deterrent to burglars. Sensor lighting that switches on when activated by movement will also scare a potential intruder off.

6. Valuables on display

A glimpse through a window only to spot items of value on display is enough to raise the determination of any burglar. Our advice: never leave any valuables, items of sentimental value, keys or ID documents in view of windows or on display outdoors. Invest in a good quality safe and ensure it is securely bolted to a solid surface. Get into the habit of placing all valuables in the safe on leaving the property or going to bed.

7. Open or unsecured windows

An open window, or one that offers an easy route in, is an open invitation to a burglar, as are multipoint locking doors that have not been locked or left with keys in the lock. Our advice: keep all windows and doors closed and locked. Remove the keys and keep them in a secure place out of view, but easily accessible in case of emergency. Fit any unsecured windows with British Standards approved locks. If you need to keep windows open at night during the warmer months, fit window stops to limit the distance they can be opened.

8. Unsecured garage or shed door

Leaving garages and sheds open or unlocked is quite simply asking for trouble. Tools and ladders stored inside could quite easily be utilised to aid a break-in. Not to mention theft of valuables from inadequately secured outbuildings. Our advice: fit quality, standards compliant locks to garages and sheds. For garages with up and over or roller shutter doors, consult a professional because attempting to fit locks yourself could result in damage. If you have an intruder alarm or CCTV, extend it to your garage for added peace of mind. You’ll need an extra layer of security if you have an integral garage with interconnecting doors. For more tips, why not have a read back over our dedicated post on garage security?

9. Unlocked back or side gate

If you’re constantly in and out of your back or side gate, or leave it open just in case you get locked out, you are opening yourself up to a security risk. Burglars know to try these gates, which are more often than not out of view and therefore provide a safe haven. Remember, an open gate is an open invitation. Our advice: keep back and side gates locked at all times and make sure they are fitted with quality locks. And don’t leave the keys in them!

10. Paved path or driveway

A paved path or driveway provides a burglar with a nice, quiet approach. Our advice: opt for a gravel path or driveway. It will prove tricky for an intruder to reach your property undetected with such noisy ground underfoot.

For total peace of mind that your home is at the opposite end of the scale to burglar-friendly, talk to Barry Bros Security. We’re NSI Gold affiliated and Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) approved and our security experts can provide you with all the advice, guidance and solutions you need to stay safe from potential intruders.