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It is advisable not only to secure your home against theft with the advice of your local Crime Prevention Officer and insurance company but also to ensure that your possessions can be identified if they are stolen.
As most household theft is opportunistic there are simple steps you can take to protect your property. It is worth noting that 80% of burglaries take place in properties without window locks. By double locking a solid mortice lock when leaving the property a thief is prevented from simply walking out of the door with your possessions to his car parked outside. For the cost of an evening for two at the theatre, one call to Banhams or any member of the Master Locksmiths Association (www.locksmiths.co.uk) will result in a professionally installed mortice door lock and a set of window locks.
If valuable items are stolen, a photographic record will also be of great help in getting them back. Loss adjustors and insurance companies have great difficulty in resolving claims to their clients' satisfaction, particularly for unique items, when there is not even a basic photograph.
Ideally each piece should be photographed individually in colour, preferably in natural light. The item should be placed against a plain background and should take up as much space as possible in the photograph.Try to ensure that there is minimum reflection on pieces such as glass, silver or varnish on oil paintings. An indication of size can be given by including a ruler or 50p piece in the picture. An additional photograph should be taken of any details, signatures or marks such as silver hallmarks or factory marks on the underside of ceramic items which would help in identification. It is also a good idea to photograph pictures and objects around the rooms in your house to remind you what is missing should a burglar take a few random objects.
Make an inventory of all valuable items with full descriptions including such details as identifying marks and dimensions.The inventory, together with the photographs should be kept in a secure place, ideally with a second copy kept off your premises, perhaps in a bank or with a solicitor.
"A photograph really does speak a thousand words. It ensures a fairer settlement and enhances considerably the chance of recovery, as well as removing so much anguish and frustration for the owner."