What makes your home a target for burglars?
Burglars are no different to most of us, at least in one respect: they like an easy life. And there is nothing they love more than an easy home to break into.
There were more than 400,000 recorded burglaries in England and Wales in the year to March 2017.
So what common mistakes do victims make?
Leaving doors and windows unlocked
The Crime Survey for England and Wales finds that about 70% of burglars gain entry to a home through a door and about 30% through a window.
It is estimated that almost a quarter of people leave their doors open while they are at home. This is a bad idea, as someone could easily slip in while you are preoccupied with chores, cooking dinner, or even watching TV.
Leaving the home appearing unattended
Domestic burglaries are a third more likely to happen on a weekday than on a weekend day. Criminals operate on the assumption that homes are likelier to be unoccupied, with people at work or school. So, make sure your home does not look empty, even if it is.
When Co-Op Insurance conducted a survey of convicted burglars, they reported that the sound of a barking dog was the second most effective deterrent – after CCTV. Leaving the TV on was the fourth biggest put-off, and having a car parked on the driveway was the sixth.
Other tips include not leaving recycling boxes and bins outside for long periods and cancelling milk and newspaper deliveries, even if you are away for just a short period.
Letting down your guard at night
Three fifths of home burglaries take place between 6am and 6pm, when they are more likely to be empty – but that still means two fifths happen at night. It can be particularly distressing to think someone could be going through your belongings while you are asleep or simply in another part of the home.
More than half the population are thought to sleep with a window open at some point. On hot nights this is unavoidable. But, if you must leave a window open, make sure that it can’t be easily climbed through without detection.
Not having an alarm
Burglars like to know they are unlikely to be disturbed while intruding. The College of Policing says a great way to take them out of their comfort zone is to install a burglar alarm with a highly visible sign on the property’s exterior.
At Verisure, we are experts on providing protection for all types of homes. So, get in touch and we will provide the right security system for you.
Leaving valuables lying around
In 2015, Lanarkshire Police warned that burglars were assessing and “coding” homes according to how easy they were to break into and the likely value of their contents. They left chalk marks on walls to let other burglars know whether properties were worth targeting.
One of the methods they used was simply making a note of what they could see through windows. Therefore you should hide valuables away from view, especially in ground-floor and basement rooms. And items such as passports and jewellery should be held in a safe or security box.
For extra advice, we at Verisure have compiled our own guide to how burglars target properties.
Lack of fencing and poor lighting
What burglar would not want to creep around undetected? Darkness provides ideal cover, so think about getting some motion-activated security lights to put criminals off and alert you if someone is lurking outside your home.
Try to make entrance to your property as difficult as you can. One suggestion is to erect a fence around your garden.
Putting holiday snaps and details on social media
It is fun to share pictures of yourself on the beach, having dinner or seeing the sights. But, other than friends and family, who else is looking? Potentially, tens of millions of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram users around the world could know your movements. It doesn’t take much for a burglar to work out you are not at home.
A survey by Together Mutual Assurance last summer found that 750,000 Brits shared details of their holidays on social media in just 30 days. Why not wait until you get home to post your holiday memories and pictures, instead of giving burglars useful information?
Poor doors and windows
Glass is easier than uPVC to break, so the College of Policing recommends replacing windows and panels on front doors, or covering them in film to make them harder to shatter. Doors should be solid, and you could consider fitting better locks or a bar for extra strength.
Ex-cons told Co-op Insurance that heavy doors were the third biggest deterrent to burglars, while locked, strong uPVC windows were the fifth biggest.
Criminals are cunning, and you have to stay one step ahead of them if you are to make your home as secure as possible. If you think ahead and consider all aspects of home safety, you are giving yourself a better chance of beating the burglars. For more information on our smart alarms, call 0800 15 18 999.0800