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Dear burglar, I’m out

What messages are you giving would-be burglars?

Nobody would knowingly inform a burglar that their property was fair game for a break in but, unfortunately, some are very good at reading signals and behaviour that let them know when is a good time to attempt a burglary and whether it’s worth their while doing it – and you are unwittingly giving them the information.

Some of the things we do are more obviously a bad idea – leaving valuables out on display for example – but many are much more subtle and most of us would never suspect that we’re compromising the security of our homes through simple habits and behaviours. Burglars know what signs to look out for, whether they’re opportunists or actively watching your street, so be mindful of your patterns of behaviour and keep them guessing!

These are just some of the ‘tells’ that would-be intruders are looking out for:

SignalsWhat they indicateWhat you can do differently
No beeps when you leave the houseA lack of audible beeps indicates that no burglar alarm has been setAlways set your alarm if you have one. If you don’t have one you could consider having one installed
Bending, ducking, reachingOdd movements such as these near your front door, as you are either entering or leaving the house, could indicate there is a key hidden somewhere.Don't hide a spare key where someone could find it. If you, or other members of your household, often lose or forget keys it would be much more secure to have a key pad or fob operated lock. These are becoming much more common on domestic properties
No change in the usual signs of lifeLights, curtains, sounds (eg TV, radio) all staying the same, night and day, indicate you're away. Remember, leaving lights on all day is as sure an indicator as having them offWhen you go away try to replicate the usual signs of life. This could be as simple as getting someone to house-sit or go in and turn lights on and off. Alternatively, smart appliances that work on a timer or can be operated remotely using a smart phone are becoming increasingly affordable.
Notes on the front door'No milk today', 'leave the parcel in the shed' and other notes like these to your milkman or postman can also be read by your friendly neighbourhood burglar and they tell them that you're not at home.Try to use alternative ways of communicating with these services. Contact the milkman direct and specify alternative ways of delivering your parcels when you order. Many online retailers will now allow you to collect from a local shop which is much more secure or simply miss the delivery and collect from the sorting office.
Build up of postLetters and junk mail visibly piling up inside the front door/overflowing from an external post box indicate you're awayTry and cancel any items that you can stop being delivered such as a daily newspaper. If possible, get someone to come and move the post and if you have a glass front door, use something subtle to disguise any views into the property. A polite notice displayed on the door all year round declining junk mail can also help to reduce the amount of post.
Tell-tale answerphoneAn audible answerphone message stating that you're away (or even worse, giving a date for your return) could potentially be heard from outside the property. Likewise, a flashing light indicating a number of messages that can be seen through the window, could give away the fact that you’'re away.Move answerphones away from areas visible and audible from outside the house. Also, avoid informing people that you're away on the message -– you have no control over who calls you and burglars will sometimes ring around local properties on the off chance there is information to glean.
Loose lipsA trusted neighbour is your best ally against a break in but if you tell them about your imminent holiday in public you could easily be overheardDon't speak to friends and neighbours about going away in the street, the local shop or the pub; tell them in private where nobody can listen in
Gadget garbageBurglars have been known to look through the bins for signs that there are items worth stealing. Packaging from new gadgets, computers, audio visual equipment etc bought indicate these items are in your home, as do old examples that may have been replaced.Destroy packaging or paperwork or take them, along with any older, obsolete items, to a refuse centre.
Walk right inSeeing people walk straight into the house without having to unlock the door indicates that you don't lock it when you're homeA surprising number of people think it's not necessary to lock the door when they're in the house. This is how sneak in burglaries happen (accounting for 30% of all burglaries) so always keep the doors locked, even when you are at home

Many of these things are simple enough to avoid, if you are aware of the risk of doing them in the first place. It’s always a good idea to question your typical behaviour around your property and what it might be telling people.

For further advice on home security measures call us on 0800 612 9799 (from a landline) or 0345 833 5543 (from a mobile) or send us a message.