UK Police forces have found that burglaries can increase by as much as 57% in bonfire week. People are out of the house at firework displays, and the noise of fireworks covering up the sounds of breaking and entering. According to Crimestoppers, burglary rates also increase by 11% on average during January, which means home-owners need to be vigilant when securing their houses at this time of year.
So as winter approaches how can you keep your property safe and secure?
There are various ways to make your home secure this winter. Some security measures may be expensive, but there are other things you can do that cost much less.
1 in 3 people admit to leaving their doors and windows unlocked when they’re away from their property.
Secure your doors. Research has shown that 73% of burglars gain entry through a poorly secured door and that most break-ins are opportunistic. Mortice locks are strong and deadlocks are a deterrent. If you’re having new windows or doors fitted make sure they have good locks built in. You can improve your security on your existing doors by upgrading the locks with thief-resistant locks, such as a night-latch.
Lock up your property. You can have all the best locks, but if you don’t use them then burglars can get in through an open door or window. Shut and lock up.
Leave lights on. Make your home seem occupied. Use timers or leave lights on if you don’t plan to get home before dark. A radio with a timer switch is also a good idea.
Security mark your property. Kits are available to buy to mark your belongings. Using your postcode and house or flat number, or the first 3 letters of the name of your home, will help ensure that any property recovered can be returned to you.
Install a visible burglar alarm. Burglars don’t want to be seen or heard. Even a dummy alarm can act as a deterrent. Add good lighting so that there aren’t any spots for the burglar to hide. Noisy gravel on paths or driveways can also deter.
Keep valuables locked away. A home safe that’s bolted securely to the floor or wall is a great place to store small valuables such as jewellery and electronics, as well as important documents like passports.
Hide your keys. According to research by Yale, plant pots are the most popular hiding place, followed by bricks, doormats and garden gnomes. It’s safest to leave your spare key with a friend or trusted neighbour.
What to do if you have been burgled
Contact the police – They will give you a crime number to quote in an insurance claim. They can also arrange for a crime prevention officer to offer advice future security measures.
Make the property secure – Repair all the doors and windows.
Make a list of what has been taken – Take photos and identify what exactly what has been stolen if your house is broken into. Try to find receipts or valuations.
An experienced insurance broker will be able to help you arrange the right cover and make a claim.
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