Winter is a peak time for home burglaries, as thieves use the dark nights as cover for their criminal activities. According to Crimestoppers, burglary rates increase by 11% on average during January, which means home-owners need to be extra-vigilant when securing their houses at this time of year. Take a look at our handy tips below.
Secure your doors
It may sound obvious when it comes avoiding burglaries, but 1 in 3 people still admit to leaving their doors and windows unlocked when they’re away from their property, according to recent statistics. The research carried out by Home Security Month
also shows that 73% of burglars gain entry through a poorly secured door and that most break-ins are opportunistic – so it’s more important than ever to ensure your locks are up to scratch. Improve your door security by upgrading the existing locks on both timber and UPVC doors with thief-resistant locks, such as a night-latch. For further advice on the types of lock you should have in your home, visit the Home Security Month
Spare key hideaways
It’s good to have a spare key, but make sure your hiding place is good enough to thwart the thieves – and don’t hide it in the clichéd hiding places around your front door, as burglars know where to look. According to new research by Yale, plant pots are the most popular hiding place, followed by bricks, doormats and garden Gnomes. Posting your key back through your letterbox is also not advised, as burglars can fish the key out given half the chance. It’s safest to leave your spare key with a friend or trusted neighbour.
According to our recent research by One Poll, only a third of people have a security light on their home. It’s best to install one on a timer both at the front and back doors of your house, but high enough to be out of reach of burglars to avoid any tampering. If you’re out and about in the evening, leave a small light on in the house so it looks like someone is home and close curtains or blinds.
Make some noise
Even if you live in a built-up area (semi-detached houses are the most at risk from thieves
) it’s worth investing in an alarm for your home. According to our research, three quarters of homes don’t have a burglar alarm fitted – and opportunistic burglars will take advantage of this. For maximum security, alarms fitted with cameras allow you to view your home from your computer. Noisy gravel paths or driveways and garden gates are also extra DIY defences to deter burglars.
Burglars look out for empty houses, so if you’re away ask a trusted neighbour to keep a look out for you every few days, making sure any unopened post isn’t too obvious at the front of the house. Also make sure that any outhouses or garden sheds are secure, as thieves will often look for tools around the house to gain entry.
(First published 6th Feb 2015)