Your Guide to Home Security and Preventing Burglary

Posted 4 February 2019 by Nick Parkhouse

Did you know you’re 11% more likely to be burgled in winter? Here’s how you can keep your home secure all-year round...

Office for National Statistics figures show that there were 438,971 police-recorded burglaries in England and Wales in 2017.

Finding that your house has been burgled can be stressful and upsetting. As well as the cost of replacing any items that have been taken, burglary can have an emotional cost. Research from Allianz Insurance found that it takes around 8 months for victims of burglary to feel safe at home again.

As a new study finds that burglaries are more likely to take place over winter, we look at how you can keep your home secure and safe. Keep reading for tips and advice on home security and preventing burglary.

Burglaries 11% more likely to happen during winter

While a new poll has found that half of all Brits are most worried about the security of their home when they are on holiday, research has found that you’re actually 11% more likely to be burgled in the winter months.

The Money Supermarket study found that burglars would rather use the cover of darker evenings to break into properties.

Tom Flack, editor-in-chief at Money Supermarket says: “As the nights draw in, it’s important to protect your home from theft, as research reveals that over half of burglaries take place during the evening or night.

 “Claiming on your home insurance if someone breaks in without forcing entry may be difficult, especially if there is no evidence of a crime being committed.

“This is known as the duty of care and, to ensure you’re paid out in full, always check windows and doors are locked before you go out, whether you’re just popping to the shops or leaving for an entire evening,” he adds.

Revealed: the country’s most common home security measures

The Money Supermarket study also looked at how Brits were protecting their home. It found that 42% of Brits double-locked their doors before leaving the house or going to bed, although 70% of burglars still gained access via a door in 2017.

29% of burglaries forced the lock, 10% cut or broke a door panel and 15% simply walked through an unlocked door.

The study found that the most common measures Brits take to secure their homes are:

  •  90% have window locks
  •  84% have double locks or deadlocks
  •  56% have light timers or sensors
  •  34% have security chains or bolts
  •  32% have burglar alarms.

As well as these common security measures, there are other steps you can take to protect your home against burglars. Keep reading for some essential advice.

10 essential tips for protecting your home

With more burglaries taking place in winter, it’s vital that you take all the steps you can to protect your home. Here are 10 tips:

  • Make sure your doors are locked – it seems obvious, but with 15% of burglars entering a property through unlocked doors you should always remember to lock up.
  • Check your locks for tampering – some burglars have been covering a keyhole with tape, so they can determine whether the occupants are not at home. Keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.
  • Keep your keys away from the door when you’re at home – make sure a burglar can’t break a pane of glass or fish through the letterbox to reach your house or car keys. Keep keys out of sight and away from the door.
  • Close your windows – dark nights can provide a cover for burglars to nip in through open windows and steal valuables. Keep your windows closed and locked.
  • Close your curtains in the evening – it’s easy for burglars to see if the house is unoccupied when the lights are on. Always close the curtains.
  • Leave a light on – if you go out when it is dark then leave a light on to make it look like you are in. Or, use a light timer that deters a potential burglar by turning on a light in your absence.
  • Be careful about social media – if you post that you have bought expensive items for everyone to see then you are broadcasting your valuables to burglars. Check your privacy settings to make sure only people you trust can see your posts.
  • Hide tools and ladders – don’t make it easy for opportunist thieves to access your property.
  • Change your locks – if you have recently moved into a new property then make sure you change the locks. Previous residents may still have a key and could gain access to the property. New locks also give you a chance to buy the latest, most secure models.
  • If it’s your birthday or Christmas, dispose of any cardboard boxes or packaging carefully. Leaving them outside the house shows a burglar exactly what valuables you now have!

Caroline Hunter, head of home insurance at the Co-op, says: “Burglary is an extremely upsetting experience for anyone who happens to find themselves in this situation, however by taking simple security measures they can easily be prevented…taking just a few small steps can make a big difference, in keeping your home, your possessions and, most importantly, you safe.”

 

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