Is your home at risk? In the UK, 300,000 properties are burglarized each year. Of all the valuable possessions stolen during break-ins, only about 5% are ever recovered. What’s even more alarming is that burglaries are on the rise. The UK has seen a 30% increase in recent years.
Taking responsibility for your own property security, and keeping your home safe, has never been more important. However, many of us are making the same common mistakes that make things worse. Discover the five major home security mistakes you are probably making, and how to solve them.
1. Are You Helping Criminals?
It may come as a surprise, but you may be inadvertently helping criminals enter your property. There are a few ways your home setup can make it easier for thieves to access your home. These include:
- Limited Lighting — Security lights are a great deterrent if used properly. However, if the light is static and doesn’t cover the entire entry area, you produce dark spaces that are much easier for a criminal to hide in. When using security lights, make sure they offer comprehensive property cover.
- Hiding Spots — It’s nice to have foliage like trees and bushes near your home. You may also have ornaments or decorations. However, these provide excellent hiding spots for criminals to get closer and stake out your property or cover their entry/escape. Keeping the landscape around your home clear presents an off-putting challenge for burglars.
- Leaving Tools Lying Around — Many burglars are opportunistic, so they may not be carrying the tools required for gaining access to a secured home. However, if you’ve left your garage or shed unlocked, or a ladder laying along the back wall in your garden, they’ll have all they need right there. Don’t make it easy for criminals to break in. Secure items that could potentially be used to access your property.
- Visible Alarm Systems — Having a high-tech security alarm is a great way to stop burglars, but only if you set it upright. Most people install their alarm input box right by the front door for ease of access and to help them remember to activate it when leaving the house, but if criminals can then see it through the window it lets them know one thing — if it’s armed or not.
2. Advertising An Empty House
What thieves love more than anything is an empty home — there’s no risk of confrontation. They’ve got all the time in the world to scope out the property for valuables. If it’s obvious your house is vacant, the chances of a burglary dramatically increase. So what mistakes are you
Letting mail pile up in your letterbox is a clear sign nobody is entering the house. Similarly, if your bins are left out on the curb past bin day, and for a time after, it’s another tell-tale sign.
The simple answer to this is to ask your neighbours to take your mail and move your bins. If that isn’t possible, you can request mail that isn’t delivered while you are away, and ask the council not to collect your bins during certain dates.
Other signs of an empty home are lights that are either constantly off or on — while you may think leaving lights on is a good idea, a light on at 4 am every night is a sign the criminals look for in a vacant property — and constantly open or closed curtains and blinds.
Another problem with a simple solution, you can either ask friends or family to go into your home every now and then to make it appear lived in, or buy socket timers so that lights turn on and off at random times to make the property appear inhabited.
Going on holiday is exciting and it’s natural you want to share your experience. Social media has made that incredibly easy, and while you are away you may be sharing a multitude of holiday snaps. Snaps that make it clear you are far away from your home.
Letting people know you are on holiday means you are letting them know your house is vacant and ripe for a good burglary. While it is very tempting to share your amazing holiday with your
social following, it is recommended you leave the posts until after you return.
This problem is more common than you might think. One out of twelve people reported a break-in following social holiday posts, which isn’t surprising. Security brand ADT ran a study that found 78% of active burglars use social media to find potential targets.
4. A Lack of Noticeable Security
So often in the world of home security, deterrence is the aim of the game. There are lots of homes to burgle with lots of options for criminals. So what sets your home apart from others? In many instances, it will simply be the ease with which it can be broken into.
Previously convicted burglars have spoken out about how deterrence factors like CCTV cameras will stop them from considering a property as a target, as will high-grade alarm systems, access controls, security gates and even dogs. Making it obvious that your home has security features is enough to put off many criminals.
Just as advertising an empty home lures in burglars, advertising security scares them away.
Tips for this include having a camera on show, a branded alarm box attached to your property, well-positioned security lights and a smartly and strategically access control system. If you can’t afford CCTV systems or high-tech alarms, you can buy fakes cheaply and improve your chances of deterring burglars.
5. Failure to Properly Secure Valuables
It was discovered that nearly 80% of people don’t trust the police to recover stolen valuables in the event of a break-in. So where does this leave you? It leaves you fearful that if the worst was to happen, and a burglar gained entry to your property, anything stolen would be gone for good.
This is fear is well-founded. Crime solves rates for break-ins are low. So how do you make sure you aren’t without valuable possessions in the event of a burglary? Many people don’t take steps to lock down their belongings, but there is yet another simple solution to this mistake.
Safes offer a very important last line of protection. They secure valuables when other acts of security have failed. If a person were to gain entry to your home, a safe offers high-grade
protection against theft of valuables by locking them behind a near-impenetrable wall of metal.
Home safes are available in a range of models, featuring high-tech locks and concealed access.
Keeping valuable possessions within a safe stops them from being removed from your home and gives you true peace of mind. As most stolen items are phones, car keys, jewellery and
gadgets — all small enough to be secured inside a safe — buying even a compact unit can provide more than enough protection.