Is your property at risk?
As Christmas approaches and we fill our homes with seasonal (and often expensive) gifts for loved ones, many burglars are rubbing their hands with glee. Dark nights provide easy cover and cold weather keeps people off the streets with their curtains closed. All of which makes the life of a burglar a lot easier.
In 2015 the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) found that there were almost 800,000 instances of domestic burglary in the UK, with most perpetrators preying on vulnerable properties with poor levels of security. That means approximately 1 burglary every 40 seconds, the majority of which are not planned, but are just opportunistic.
Did you accidentally leave your door unlocked?
With an estimated 64% of UK householders admitting to occasionally leaving their house unlocked when they go out, it’s not hard to see how those opportunities arise. Amazingly 73% of burglars use the door!
So if you want to do everything you can to make sure you’re not the next statistic, now is the time when you need to give serious and urgent consideration to your property’s security.
Your alarm system
According to recent research, less than half of UK adults have a burglar alarm or security system installed at home and only a quarter of those automatically contact the police. And that’s made worse by the finding of a survey by the Halifax that only 34% of householders actually activate their alarm on a regular basis.
Make sure you have the best possible alarm and that it is functioning properly. Then make a commitment to always use it when you are out. If you let your property, remember to remind your tenants of the importance of the alarm and the need to use it.
Consider other forms of protection too, such as light timers (fewer than 25% of people in the UK use a light timer), movement sensors (only 18% of householders own movement sensors) and security cameras (only 9% of householders have these).
Locks and doors
Check the quality of your locks and the state of your windows, doors and frames. You should have a deadlock and all your locks should be of British or European standard. If you are in any doubt, call a locksmith to double check for you.
Consider using toughened glass for windows and avoid glass panels if you can. Don’t forget to check door and window frames too, as rotten wood makes easy work for a burglar. And above all else, remember to lock your windows and doors at night or when you are out.
Be neighbourhood aware
33% of householders who took part in the Halifax survey assumed another neighbour’s alarm was a false alarm! Take time to get to know your neighbours or notify them when your property is going to be empty. Join any Neighbour Watch scheme in your area and add their sticker to your window.
Be social media savvy
7% of people tag their location on Twitter and/or Instagram when they are on holiday. But tempting as it is to let your friends know on social media that you are heading off to the Caribbean for 2 weeks at Christmas, you might as well just invite the burglars to visit while you’re away.
Take advantage of new technology
The wonders of advancing technology, mean that you can now control devices in your home via your mobile phone or tablet. As long as you have wi-fi, you can monitor, view and control your home security, so if you love technology this may be the answer for you.
There is a large amount of common sense and good practice involved in keeping your property secure. Keeping the area around your home well lit, hiding keys or just leaving the lights and radio on are all a good start. Taking a little time now to assess your security and put some measures in place could go a long way to saving you from the heart ache and hassle of a break in in the coming months.
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