People urged to be more security conscious as burglary rates rise again after 10 year lull
A police force has launched its spring burglary awareness campaign and warned that the number of burglaries is rising again after having dropped over the last decade. Detective Chief Superintendent Richard List of Thames Valley Police said that “Probable factors are more houses; austerity is no doubt an issue; we have seen greater opportunity to get rid of stolen property and of course the globalisation of burglary.” He also added that social media use and warmer weather both increased the risk of burglary.
Austerity has an impact on crimes such as burglary as increased poverty can drive more people to crime and there is more demand for cheap, black market goods. Sharing sensitive information on social media alerts would-be intruders that you’re not at home and warmer weather could lead you to leave windows and doors open, giving opportunists the chance to sneak in.
Because of this increase, and because spring is always a good time to review your home security as we change our behaviours with the warmer weather and lighter evenings, we thought it would a good idea to reinforce our spring home security tips:
- Keep windows closed in unoccupied rooms
It can be tempting to leave windows open for fresh air as the weather gets warmer but this can allow intruders to enter or reach in
- Keep doors locked
30% of burglaries are classed as insecure break ins where there’s actually no break in at all, they simply walk through the door. This is especially important if you’re distracted in the garden as you may not be any the wiser that someone has been in until much later on
- Keep hedges and shrubs cut back
Don’t allow burglars to take cover in the garden as they wait for their opportunity. Spring weather means that plants, hedges and trees all start to grow at a rapid rate so make sure you keep on top of them
- Don’t post about holidays on social media
We all enjoy a bit of holiday smugness but the joke could be on you if you check yourself in on your lovely holiday, only to inform people that there’s nobody home. Also be careful about showing off new, expensive items you’ve got as these can prove tempting as well
- Don’t leave valuables on show through windows
With lighter evenings, your curtains and blinds will be open for much longer. Don’t leave valuable items where they can be seen as they can prove too tempting for burglars
- Keep sheds, garages and outbuildings locked
Not only will burglars break into outbuildings to steal their contents, they may also use items they find in there (such as tools, heavy objects, ladders etc) to break into your home. It is often possible to add separate buildings on to your burglar alarm system so this is worth considering if you have valuable items such as bikes in there
- Keep garden furniture away from the house and from fences or hedges
They could potentially be used to gain access to your garden or climbed on to get into first floor windows
- Keep back doors locked when you answer the front door
A common distraction burglary technique is to keep you occupied at the front door while someone sneaks in at the back. This time of year, many will use the ruse of offering to do jobs in the garden or around the house to engage you for a few minutes which can be all it takes
- Keep keys away from doors, windows and letterboxes
Don’t leave them anywhere they can be hooked out or grabbed. Burglars will often take them and then come back later to let themselves in or steal your car. Likewise, if you have a car with keyless ignition, don’t leave this near windows even if they’re hidden from sight as devices can be used to intercept radio codes and unlock your car (see further details about relay crime)
- Always set your alarm
When the weather is nice you’re much more likely to pop out to the shop or to a neighbour’s without really thinking. Even if you only plan to be gone a few minutes, make sure you lock the doors and if you have a burglar alarm, set it.
The risk of burglary always rises when the clocks go back in the autumn with the darker nights that brings but spring can bring its own risks, as outlined here. Take extra care and if you need some further advice, call us on 0800 612 9799 or complete the enquiry form to the left.