101 (well nearly) tips to improve your security

Here are a number of tips you should consider if you want to improve your security and reduce the risk of being burgled. They are taken from previous Newsletters and brought together here on one page. So far there are only 33! Any tips you may have in addition to these I will gladly consider for inclusion. Just email them to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  1. Lock up just as you would in the UK. This place may seem like heaven but it isn’t really. Don’t leave your keys on the inside of the door. Put them away safely.
  2. Take your mobile phone with you and make sure it is charged up. The emergency number here is 112 and will go direct to a call centre in Madrid where they do speak English.
  3. If you have a hand held Personal Attack alarm (about £10 in the UK) take that with you as well.
  4. Take the car keys with you.
  5. Take your handbag/wallet with you - don’t leave them in the living room.
  6. Do not leave windows open at night.
  7. Make a note of all your credit card and debit card numbers together with the numbers you should phone if they are lost or stolen. Keep the list well hidden. Do the same with your passports driving licenses and any other important documents. Keep serial numbers of electronic equipment.
  8. If you have lockable gates to your property - lock them when you are not using them.
  9. If you are in the garden - remember - you may fall asleep so don’t leave doors insecure nor leave valuables near doors or windows.
  10. Never allow trades people in your home unsupervised.
  11. Careless talk can be dangerous; don’t let it be known to all and sundry that you are going away.
  12. Consider buying and installing a safe for jewellery and other small valuables such as passports, wills etc.
  13. When you go out in the evening - don’t make your house look as if there is no one there. Leave a few lights on and a radio or television.
  14. Be constantly aware of what is going on around you. If you see a car near your home that is unfamiliar, make a note of the number. It’s probably nothing but it may be crucial later. It need only take seconds. Someone you don’t know on foot? Scribble down a description and watch where they go.
  15. When you go out - tell your neighbours and tell them roughly when you’ll be back. Encourage your neighbours to do likewise and keep an eye on their place while they are away.
  16. If you leave your home for protracted periods invest in a few timer switches, attach them to lights and set them at intervals when it is dark. They can give the impression that someone is home.
  17. If you pay tradesmen in cash don’t let them see where you keep it.
  18. When taking over a new build change your locks as many tradesmen may have spare keys that fit your existing locks
  19. Don’t be a hero - it is never worth it. If someone does get into your home, try to notice and remember as much about their physical appearance and clothing as you can and jot it down as soon as they have gone so you can recall it later.
  20. If you are away for long periods ask a neighbour to look after your property. This can often be done on a reciprocal basis. Also let them have your insurance details.
  21. Make a note of all your credit card and debit card numbers together with the numbers you should phone if they are lost or stolen. An easy way to do this is to photocopy them onto a sheet of A4 paper. Keep the list well hidden. Do the same with your passports, driving licenses and any other important documents.
  22. The law in Spain requires that you keep all your car documents in your car at all times when on the road. Make a photocopy of these documents and keep them in a safe place. This will make it much easier to obtain replacements should your car (and documents) be stolen.
  23. In the event of the loss of important documents you should make a denuncia/crime report at your local Police Station and sign the report. You will then have a copy of the report, which you will find very useful in getting your documents replaced.
  24. Keep your gates, doors and security grills shut and locked if you are not actually in the room or even if you are on the terrace or patio.
  25. Keep wallets and handbags out of view, as it only takes a thief one moment to step inside to take them or to "fish" them out through the grills.
  26. When out of the house - IF YOU DON'T NEED IT, DON'T TAKE IT. Be especially careful at street markets - all of which have pickpockets. Do not leave handbags casually on seats in bars and cafes. Put one leg through the strap and place them between your ankles or knees.
  27. Keep your car doors locked at all times. When parking, check that the windows are properly closed and bags, suitcases or items that appear to be valuable are not visible.
  28. Be wary of strangers asking for directions, especially in supermarket car parks and at Cash Points. In these situations thieves usually work in teams, so be alert at all times - DISTRACTION is their game. If you are in a car, lock the doors and try to drive away. Sound the horn if you feel threatened.
  29. Don’t talk about your holiday plans where others can hear them.
  30. Do not leave garden implements around that can be used to break into your property.
  31. When you go out for the evening leave a light, radio or television on.
  32. Mark your valuables (where possible) with indelible marking of your post code.
  33. Consider an alarm system. Even a dummy alarm box is better than nothing. These can be purchased cheaply here and in the UK.