Living in the countryside? Rural theft If you’re lucky enough to live in beautiful rural England, surrounded by rolling hills and idyllic countryside, you may feel a million miles away from crime. Although crime levels are generally lower in rural areas compared with towns and cities, statistics show that 6.7% of residents in significantly rural areas were victims of burglary last year. According to NFU Mutual, rural thefts cost approximately £42.3m in the UK in 2012. These figures show that, despite lower crime levels than urban areas, home safety needs to be high on the agenda in the countryside. Prime targets Rural homes are often seen as prime targets for burglars as many are large properties with extra buildings, such as outhouses and sheds. It can be impossible to keep your eyes on all areas of your property at once, especially if you are lucky enough to live on a sprawling country estate. Having an alarm fitted in sheds or outbuildings can deter burglars and help keep your tools, bikes and lawnmowers safe. Snakes and ladders Ladders and tools are another target for thieves. Burglars often use them to gain access to properties, so try to avoid leaving them lying around and, if possible, ensure they are secured in a shed with a padlock. Some expensive and bulky items may need more than just a padlock to ensure security. Heavy anchor locks and hasps offer a higher degree of security for outdoor items, especially when combined with a padlock. Another top tip to keep your rural home safe is to make sure your driveway and paths are well lit. Burglars prefer to move under the cover of darkness; so shining a security light on them can be a very effective way of warding them off. Digital security It’s also essential to lock all doors and windows when you’re not at home, making sure they are fitted with secure locks in line with British standards. If you’re looking for convenience as well as peace of mind it is also worth considering the latest digital technology: digital door locks. These allow you to access and protect your property with just a personalised PIN number, meaning no more hunting for lost keys! Yale’s digital door locks offer clever security features that include a fake PIN code function, which prevents others from identifying your passcode during access. This works to confuse onlookers, while at the same time allowing you to enter your PIN away from prying eyes, keeping your home safe and secure. Temporary PINs can also be issued for visitors, such as neighbours and tradesmen, and deleted at the touch of a button, so there is no need to reveal your family passcode. Finally, don’t advertise the fact you are not at home by leaving notes for traders or customers telling them you’re out and back soon. When your house is empty ask a neighbour to keep an eye on it or get involved in a neighbourhood watch scheme.