Crime, like all things, changes, so we investigated the latest crime statistics to help you stay secure. We’re starting with one of the most damaging forms of property crime: burglary. UK Crime Stats lists 372,230 reported cases between September 2015 and August 2016, making burglary one of the most common criminal offences reported in the UK.
So how can you reduce the likelihood of your home being targeted? Here, we’ll explain how you can protect your belongings through prevention, deterrence, and home security.
How does a Burglar Choose a Target?
Contrary to popular belief that burglars usually creep into a home late at night, they are most likely to be active between 9am and 5pm. This is because they understand that most people will be at work during the day. It is therefore vital that you ensure all doors and windows are securely locked before leaving for work in the morning, and that all entry and exit points are secured with one or more high quality locks.
As Michael Fraser explains, burglars will often assess a house’s security before attempting entry. By checking whether the front door is securely locked or monitored, a burglar knows whether this point of entry is worth attempting. If there are windows in or around a door, the burglar will also assess whether there are security devices to avoid, or vulnerabilities they can use to their advantage.
If the front door is secure or easily visible from the street, they will move to the rear of the house where they are less likely to be seen. A common fault is homeowners leaving their house keys within reach of the door. If this is the case, a burglar can often reach them through a letterbox or cat-flap using objects or tools found in the garden.
How to Prevent Burglary:
- Ensure your locks and security devices are of a high quality and specification.
- Always lock your doors and windows before leaving for work, and going to bed.
- Keep keys away from windows and doors, preferably in a key safe.
- A secure post box or letter cage can stop a burglar from reaching nearby keys or undoing the latch from outside.
- Use British Standard approved locks that meet BS3621 on all entry points.
How to Deter Burglars
The simplest way to prevent burglary is to not allow your house to appear a desirable target. To achieve this, we want to limit the burglar’s certainty that they will receive a substantial reward for gaining entry, and increase the risk they face when entering the building.
Keep valuables out of sight when out of the home, so burglars are unsure as to whether the risk they are taking is worthwhile. If a burglar can see laptops, jewellery, or car and house keys through the window, they know what they stand to gain, and what to prioritise should they be pressed for time. Hiding these objects means a burglar is less certain what they stand to gain, and unsure how to escape with the maximum possible profit.
You should also avoid leaving obvious signs that the house is unoccupied when you are away. People often ask a neighbour to move the post for them, but often other clues are left behind. Leaving a calendar in view of the window, or posting about your plans on social media, is just as helpful for the burglar. If a burglar knows they have a clear period during which the home is unoccupied, they can enter knowing there is little chance of detection.
- Keep high value items, such as laptops and tablets, out of sight from windows on the ground floor.
- A visible home alarm system actively discourages burglars from approaching the building, for fear of triggering an alert.
- A well-maintained CCTV system can deter burglars, as evidence will be left behind.
- Fit security lights and install a gravel drive to make burglars less likely to risk approaching the building, as they will be readily spotted or heard.
- Make it hard for strangers to know when the property will be empty, and use timer switches to turn lights on and off while you’re away.
How to Protect Your Possessions
Should a burglar succeed in entering a property, the aim is to ensure that they leave with as little of worth as possible. By making valuables hard to discover, difficult to remove, and easily traceable, the likelihood of them being lost is greatly reduced.
Keeping valuables in the loft or attic is best, as burglars do not want to enter areas of the house they cannot quickly escape if they are discovered. While these are often the last places a burglar would want to search for valuables, they aren’t practical locations to keep items we use every day. More commonly used items should instead be kept in a safe that is secured to the wall or floor.
Securing Your Valuables:
- Keep car keys away from the entrance and other obvious areas, or locked in a key safe.
- Store valuables that are infrequently used in the roof-space of your home or other hard-to-reach areas.
- Valuables that are used more frequently should be stored in a safe secured to the wall or floor.
- To make recovery easier following a loss or burglary, check the Police’s advice for property marking. If a criminal can tell a property is marked or traceable, they may choose to leave it behind.
If these tips are followed, the likelihood of burglary to your property should be reduced. Do you have any fantastic anti-burglary tips we might have missed? Let us know in the comments below.
Still have questions about security? We’re more than happy to help you find the ideal security solution for your home – contact us, or read our next Crime in Time article about protecting yourself against personal theft.