Sadly this time of year sees a peak in the rate of burglaries. The closer we head towards Christmas the more at risk our homes are.
Legal and General are trying to highlight ways in which our lifestyles make us more vulnerable to break ins which then has an impact on your home insurance premiums.
According to the ONS, there were almost seven thousand household crimes in the last recorded year, with certain areas of the UK more vulnerable to crime than others.
Their report makes for some surprising reading. For example, did you know that the majority of burglars enter properties through doors, many knocking first to ensure no one is home and tend to spend on average 8-12 minutes in a home.
I must admit that we had been rather laid back in our home safety precautions in the past. We lived in a little bubble thinking our neighbourhood was relatively safe. However, after a string of garden thefts in our area last year we began to take home security little more seriously.
If we can make a few simple changes to make our home look less inviting to a burglar then it is worth making them.
Here are 5 things we have done to increase security;
1. Removing the keys from the doors – We used to leave the keys in the door once it was locked. However, it seemed burglars were managing to get the keys through the letterbox, let themselves into homes and make away with valuables and also cars. They are now kept out of reach and sight.
2. Fitting window alarms – our garden backs onto fields. A determined burglar could soon hide in the fields and escape detection. We bought cheap window alarms from e-bay and fitted them to all downstairs windows and the patio door. Once the door/window is opened an alarm sounds. (its also rather good at letting me know when the children think they can escape to the garden without doing homework/chores first).
3. Putting valuables out of sight – I am sure many people are guilty of this one. I-pads left on kitchen work surfaces after putting it there to follow a recipe, handbags in hallways after grabbing your purse to pay the window cleaner or garages full of bikes left open while you cut the grass. All of these things highlight what you have to any passing would be burglars. This means they then know what and where to come looking next time you are out or asleep.
You can not completely remove these items from your home but if you can at least make them a bit harder to locate and less opportunistic to grab then you are deterring the burglar and possibly stopping a break in.
4. Securing the garden – our garden is accessed via the side of our house. We have never had a gate on this. However, after local thefts Mr C built and fitted a gate to hopefully deter any unwanted visitors to our garden (sadly this also included the post man and he can no longer leave my parcels in a safe place).
We also moved the wheelie bins to the garden side of the fence to prevent burglars from using the bins as a way of getting over the new fence.
5. Be friendly with the neighbours – speaking to your neighbours and being at least friendly enough with them to say hello really helps in keeping an ear to the ground for any trouble. We are fortunate in that Mr C will talk to anyone and knows all of our immediate neighbours. It was this neighbourly relationship which made us aware of last years thefts and prompted us to be more vigilant.
If we hear their alarms going off we would not hesitate in going to check on their homes and hope they would do the same for us.
Do you have any simple security tips that you have implemented in your home?