Our favourite security tips

We all know the basics of personal security and yet every year many criminals get away with burglaries and online crime as well as many other potentially devastating acts. But there are a few extra things you can do to boost your personal security, and in particular the security of your home. Here are our top three security tips to help you stay safe in 2014.

Password protected

Along with all the great things about the technologies available to us in the modern world we're unfortunately faced with a new type of crime – online crime, that is. We can now do all our banking and shopping online, and manage all our communications with often only a password standing between us and potential criminals. So is your password up to scratch? You'd be surprised by how many people choose '1234' as their password or use one password for everything, making it very easy for hackers to access their personal accounts.

For most situations – some programs have their own password requirements – a good password should be eight characters long and a mixture of uppercase letters, lowercase letters and numbers. It shouldn't be a word you would find in a dictionary or a name that someone could easily gain access to, such as the name of your partner, child or pet.

Show off your alarm

House alarms are often hailed as the best home security product, but in most cases they only begin to serve their purpose once someone has already gained access to your home. This is because most people don't advertise the fact that they have an alarm system and so potential thieves aren't deterred from targeting the property. How Stuff Works recommends displaying your alarm loud and proud on the outside of your house to keep burglars away, as well as a sign saying that the company will be alerted if the alarm is triggered.

Look out for your neighbours

Making an agreement with your neighbours to look out for each other is a great way to protect your home, while making some friends along the way. This could include keeping an eye on each other's house when they're on holiday, looking after each other's spare keys, or just generally keeping an eye out for anything suspicious. If you do see anyone hanging around their home let your neighbour know, or if they're away on holiday, call the police.

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