Robbing homes to steal cars
It seems strange to say this but sometimes when burglars break into a home, they’re not really that interested in 99% of what you have in your home; it’s just a means to an end. This is highlighted in a recent case involving Leeds based boxing Olympic champion, Nicola Adams. The thieves were audacious enough to break in while Nicola and members of her family were in the house but they only took a few items: the main reason for the burglary was to take the keys for her 2 cars which they then drove away in. The other items included a phone, a holdall and an overnight bag. They also ended up with items that were in the boot of one of the cars including commemorative items linked to Nicola’s 2012 Olympic gold medal. The items that were taken meant that she was unable to compete in the England National Championship taking place that weekend.
The fact that people were at home at the time (yet remained unaware) indicates that the thieves were in and out very quickly. That means that the items stolen were probably close to the door (ready for Nicola to take to the competition) and easy to grab, including the car keys.
This case highlights several important issues when it comes to home security, many of which we’ve spoken about on this blog before:
Issue: ‘Insecure burglaries’ – also known as sneak burglaries. These are terms for the break-ins that happen when doors are left unsecured. In other words; not locked. It allowed them to sneak in quickly and noiselessly, and leave again without alerting anyone to their presence. See a related blog here.
Solution: Keep doors locked at all times, even when you’re home
Issue: Easy pickings – valuable items left out within easy reach of the door. How often do people leave car keys in a bowl or on hooks near the door: it’s very common. It means that the burglars don’t have to do any work at all and can be in and out in a matter of seconds. Sometimes it’s not even necessary to enter the house; keys can be hooked through the letter box, they’re so close to the door. See a related blog here.
Solution: Designate a secure place, away from doors and windows, for valuable items such as car keys and phones or keep them on your person.
Issue: The emotional cost of burglary. In our experience, the aspect of burglary that people find most difficult to deal with is the feeling of violation and the emotional cost rather than the cost of the items taken. In this case, sentimental items from Nicola’s 2012 Olympics win were taken which would either be worthless to anyone else (but invaluable to her) or very distinctive and hard to get rid of. Because these types of item have little resale value they tend to get dumped and so rarely turn up again. See a related blog here.
Solution: Any items that are irreplaceable need to be kept secure. You could go as far as keeping them in a safe or just hide them away well but don’t leave them with other items that make them vulnerable such as in a car or in amongst attractive items like in a bag with a phone or in a jewellery box.
These solutions are fairly simple, common sense strategies but many of us simply bury our heads in the sand and think that it won’t happen to us. This example proves that if they have the nerve to rob a professional boxer’s home while she is in the house, then pretty much anyone is a target.
If you would like advice on any aspect of security for your home then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.