Forget “winter is coming“, it’s well and truly here! Some parts of the UK saw temperatures plunge to a bitter -13C on the coldest night of the year so far.

While we should be used to snow, cold spells and shorter days, it seems a bit of adverse weather still has the ability to severely disrupt transport services. This means many people may find themselves arriving home from work much later than usual this time of year.

But arriving home from work late isn’t just inconvenient, it also poses some security risks too.  That’s because unscrupulous individuals often target homes that are empty and the darker winter nights provide the perfect cover for their nefarious activities. Stay safe with our winter home security tips!

That’s why you should absolutely consider investing in some home security basics (especially if you don’t have any already).

Here are our five top winter home security tips:

1. Check all doors & windows

It might sound rather obvious, but a startling number of burglars gain entry to homes through unlocked doors and windows. Even if you are only going out for a short while and have never had issues leaving your home unlocked in the past, there can always be a first time. Don’t risk it.

2. Install a security light

Motion sensing security lights are brilliant deterrents for when it’s dark. Even if nobody is home, a light that comes on automatically when someone approaches is often enough to make a burglar think twice.

3. Buy some plug-in timers

Plug-in timers enable you to set lights, radios and TVs to come on at certain times throughout the day. Most burglars look for easy targets and if they think there’s someone at home, there’s a good chance they’ll steer clear of your house.

4. Invest in an alarm system

Like security lights, audible alarm systems are a great deterrent. Burglars often scope out properties before they make their move and an alarm could just be enough to prevent your home from being targeted.

Furthermore, alarm systems can often help reduce your home insurance premiums, which makes them a win-win investment.

Be sure to advise your neighbours if you get an alarm system fitted so they can listen out for it when you’re not at home.

5. Consider installing CCTV

Burglars do not like CCTV systems, especially the kind that allow homeowners to monitor their properties remotely on their mobile devices/computers. Strategically-positioned cameras will often be a big enough deterrent to scare burglars away.

In the event that your house is, unfortunately, burgled, CCTV cameras can provide crucial evidence to aid a police investigation, which may lead to the perpetrators being apprehended.

Like alarm systems, CCTV cameras may also help reduce the cost of your home insurance premiums.

[Related reading: 4 Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Winter]