There’s no better way to secure a conviction for the guilty and reclaim stolen possessions for the innocent than by catching a criminal red-handed. With figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that crime is up by 10% – which is the largest annual rise for a decade – it’s never been more important to increase your vigilance and clamp down on petty theft and vandalism.

Here are four ways in which you can stay one step ahead of the criminals and prevent their nefarious schemes by catching them red-handed. They might just be the difference between you being out of pocket and the culprit being behind bars.

The camera never lies

The best deterrent against crime is a state-of-the-art CCTV system. Criminals are far less likely to try and invade your home or workplace if they suspect their every move is being monitored – but even if they do chance their luck, CCTV footage can provide invaluable evidence in bringing them to justice and reuniting you with your stolen valuables. If you don’t already employ CCTV at your property, consider installing it today.

Tracking technology

The irrepressible march of technology has made our lives easier in all manner of ways – including fighting crime. With Find My Phone apps available for both Android and Apple phones, you can track the whereabouts of your beloved Smartphone at the touch of a button. You can even employ the same principle to track down your laptop or tablet, by tracing its IP address. There are also anti-theft photo apps, which take a photograph of the user when anyone tries to log in with the incorrect code. Now that’s what we call Smart-enabled.

Bring in forensics

With all this electronic wizardry in play nowadays, it’s easy to forget about the tried and tested methods of criminal catching. The science of forensics has come a long way over the last 200 years, but dusting for fingerprints is still a great way to implicate an offender, so search your home or workplace for traces of the intruder once you’ve determined a break-in has taken place. As well as fingerprints, this could include blood, saliva or any other substance left behind by the malefactor.

Step up the home security

In addition to CCTV, it’s a good idea to make sure your home or business is well-protected in other ways, too. An efficient intruder alert system can quickly let you know when someone has illegally entered your property, with the option of notifying the authorities at the same time. What’s more, modern developments in the technology mean that wireless alarm systems are now available, causing minimal disruption to existing décor and ease of installation.