As the days get shorter, burglars get braver
The clocks go back on Sunday, bringing darker evenings and heralding the start of winter. With the dark nights, along come the burglars – home burglary usually spikes by around 20% at this time of year and the day that you’re most likely to be burgled out of the whole year is 5th November when burglaries increase by 22%. It’s no coincidence that National Home Security Month takes place in October because this is exactly the time of year that you should be reviewing your home security and making sure you don’t become one of the statistics.
Clearly the cover of darkness is a key factor in this increase. Here are our best 10 tips for protecting your home and your family against burglars over the winter months:
- Get some security lighting installed, or if you already have some make sure it’s in full working order (no better time to get that bulb changed!). You can choose one that works on a sensor (comes on when it detects movement) or a dusk ‘til dawn light; a low level light that comes on automatically at dusk and stays on until daylight. Most burglars would bypass a house that is well illuminated over one that had plenty of shadows to hide in
- Lock your windows up for the winter. Now that the weather is getting colder you’ll be much less likely to open your windows. Most people close their windows but they are much more secure if they’re also locked by key as well.
- Keep your doors locked, even when in the house. A third of burglaries are insecure break ins, meaning that they are committed via an unlocked door or window. Burglars will often try doors to see if any are open and sneak in – often without the occupants even realising they’ve done so until much later
- Lock sheds and out buildings and make sure there is nothing in the garden that thieves can use to break in such as tools, ladders and even garden furniture. With winter coming it could be a good time to get those summer chairs and tables put away somewhere
- If someone knocks at one door, make sure other doors are locked before answering. This is the typical MO of a distraction burglary where an accomplice sneaks in another entrance while you are occupied
- Leave lights on and perhaps the TV when you go out in the evening so that the house looks occupied. If you are away for a few days or more it could be worthwhile investing in some timers or even a smart system where you can turn lights on and close curtains remotely
- Set the burglar alarm when you go to bed. Many only bother when they’re going out but you really don’t want to be burgled when you’re asleep upstairs either so get into the habit. If you don’t know how to do this, refer to the instructions of your system or call the company who looks after your alarm. We are always happy to talk our customers through this over the phone
- If it’s a while since your burglar alarm had a service then why not get it sorted for the winter. It may well need a new battery and it’s good to regularly iron out any potential faults
- Don’t hide things in obvious places. Most people hide their cash and valuables in the sock drawer, the wardrobe or under the bed (if they even hide them away at all). These are the first places burglars will look. Ideally they are best kept in a safe that is secured to a surface and therefore cannot be removed
- Don’t leave keys in the lock or near the door where they can potentially be hooked out from the other side and definitely don’t hide a key outside the house anywhere for times of emergency – they look under the plant pots as well!
Follow these 10 tips and you’re really doing your best to protect your home. Just remember that they will assess your property against others in the street and they’ll always choose the one that is least protected.
This blog has been created for week 4 of National Home Security Month. You can see posts for week 1 (Burglary stats that may shock you), week 2 (Safe as Houses) and week 3 (Smart Home Security) as well as other items relating to the campaign. Week 5 is the final week of this campaign and will be themed ‘spooky season’ – a guide to preventing sneak thieves and distraction burglars at Halloween. You can get daily security stats via our Facebook and Twitter pages.