There was well over half a million domestic burglaries in England and Wales last year (ONS) and during the summer is prime time for thieves to strike. So, whether you are jetting off abroad or heading out for a day in the sun, it’s time to step up your home security.
You probably prefer to spend most of your time outdoors during the summer and the vast majority of you will also head off a nice relaxing holiday too. But the more time you spend out of the house, the more vulnerable your property becomes, and taking steps to make it secure is just as important as packing your sunglasses and remembering your passport.
Thieves are often opportunistic but they can work in a more calculated manor too, scoping out certain properties or even streets before they make their move, which is why it is important to make your property secure at all times.
1. Be vigilant with locking doors and windows, even when they are not easily accessible. If you are out in the garden, be sure to close windows at the front of the house as many burglaries can happen when you are at home as well as when you are not.
2. It’s also important to check that windows and doors are in good condition – adverse weather over winter could have affected locks or the structure making it easier for thieves to get inside your property.
3. If you are going off on holiday, it’s a good idea to inform your close neighbours that you are going away so that they can keep an eye on your property, and especially whether or not your security lights (if you have them) are being triggered.
4. Try not to discuss your holiday on social media as thieves can use this information to their advantage. It’s tempting to post airport snaps and check ins from paradise locations but if your home is vacant then this can give someone all the opportunity they need to make a move.
5. And, if you leave a spare key ‘hidden’ somewhere on the exterior of your property, make sure this is not in an obvious position like in a planter, or hanging basket or under the door mat. It may be a better option to leave it with a good friend or neighbour while you are away.
6. Before you go, ask yourself if it is obvious that your home is going to be vacant? Will the curtains be drawn day and night? Will there be piles of unopened post and milk deliveries at the door? Are there any cars in the driveway?
A few simple measures can make your home look like someone is living in it and keep any potential burglars away.
The Home Office information portal, Police.uk, suggests the following:
- Use automatic timers on your lights and radios when it goes dark
- Cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries
- Use Royal Mail’s ‘keepsafe’ service – they will keep your mail for up to two months while you’re away
- Ask a trusted neighbour to collect your post, open and close your curtains and park their car on your empty driveway
Finally, is your home making it easy for a burglar? Does it have high hedges that protect the view in, a soft and quiet entry up to the house (gravel for example is noisy and off-putting) and do you have tools and ladders within reach? It may be space-saving to store your ladder on the wall but this is just inviting a burglar in! Plus, make sure that sheds and other garden buildings are securely locked and that no valuables are left in them. And don’t forget to turn on your burglar alarm on!
Turn your security up a notch
In September 2017, a Which? survey revealed that 89% of UK residents had a burglar alarm installed at their home, 63% had outdoor security lighting, 39% use timers for indoor lights and just 10% have CCTV or wireless cameras.
Invest in motion sensor outdoor lighting – this is an affordable and efficient way to ward off opportunistic burglars.
Dummy cameras can cost as little as £10 and are often used as a deterrent to burglars but proper CCTV has become easier to install and less expensive in recent years, making it a good option for home owners looking for additional security both inside and outside their property.
CCTV is worth considering as a home security investment and could be something you do with your neighbours to bring the cost down even further. Here’s our pick of some of the latest camera technology.
Kamus Double Wall Bracket Frosted Glass Stainless Steel with Lamps £79.80www.darlighting.co.uk
Tommy Walsh Dummy Security Camera Available at Poundland
The Netgear Arlo Smart Home Security Camera system includes three wireless weatherproof cameras with night vision, mobile alerts when movement is detected and free cloud storage for footage. £440.99 from Ebuyer
MaxxOne 2.4MP AHD 2.8-12mm 30m IR Dome Grey £66.19 lrndistribution.co.uk. This dome security camera offers multi-format full HD resolution for improved image clarity during the day and at night.
This Yale CCTV Kit allows you to view your home from anywhere at any time via a smartphone, with the cameras providing enhanced night vision for clear images, even in poor weather conditions. Yale CCTV Kit £429.98 www.yalestore.co.uk