Your belongings may mean a lot to you but to an intruder they’re just a way of making quick and easy cash.
Organisation the CSEW provides information on most common valuables that are stolen during a burglary.
Most common items stolen in domestic burglaries (2013/14 CSEW):
- Vehicle/vehicle parts
- Mobile phones
- Car keys
- House keys
- Children’s toys
- Sports equipment
- Confidential/personal documents
The CSEW survey showed that cash has consistently remained a major target for an intruder and continues to be the most commonly stolen item in crimes of burglary and theft, in just fewer than 50% of reported burglaries cash was the most commonly stolen item. However as more and more of us continue to invest in the latest gadgets such as smart phones and tablets these have become a more desirable item for an intruder to target.
“The targeting of high value items was also clear in domestic burglary in a dwelling where, after purses, wallets or money, the most commonly stolen items were computers/computer equipment and jewellery (stolen in nearly two fifths of domestic burglary incidents). Trends also show how as the value of items changes over time, their appeal as a target of theft also changes. For example, according to the 2013/14 CSEW items such as CDs and DVDs were stolen in just one in twenty domestic burglary incidents compared with around one in five a decade ago.” (ONS 2014)
Protect your home and your valuables
A burglar can strike at any time day or night but most burglaries can be prevented by taking steps to ensure your home and your valuables are safe and secure.
Most burglars are opportunists and in 3 out of 10 burglaries access is gained through an open door or window. Burglars love it when you make their job easier for them. The following steps will make it harder for them and in turn more likely that they will avoid your property.
Routine – Make it a nightly routine to check that all external entry points to your home are locked. In 3 out of 10 burglaries access is gained through an open door or window.
Alarm Systems – Alarms are a great deterrent but a complete home system can cost as much as £2000 with a yearly maintenance cost on top. If you don’t have this sort of money spare you can still give the impression of having an alarm system installed by purchasing a Dummy siren bell box for as little as £13.99.
Ensure your locks are British Standard – Insurance companies will specify that your property must be fitted with British Standard locks on your doors and windows. After a break-in has occurred you may wish to claim on your home insurance in order to cover the costs of the damage caused by an intruder but by not meeting the requirements initially set by your home insurance provider you may run the risk of invalidating your insurance.
What are British Standard locks? – In order for any lock to be classed as a ‘British Standard’ lock they must have been through rigorous testing including strength, durability and of course security, these products are also re-assessed and re-tested to ensure you have complete confidence in the safety, quality and reliability of the locks you have installed in your home. A higher quality lock such as a British Standard lock can act as a great deterrent against burglary as it will make it a lot harder for the intruder to gain entry.
Protect yourself from lock snapping – Intruders will often use various methods and makeshift tools to snap locks in order to gain entry to a home. Euro profile locks (better known as Euro Cylinders) are found in the majority of uPVC doors and are the most likely targets for this type of forced entry. To protect yourself from lock snapping simply upgrade your cylinder to one that is specifically designed to prevent this method of attack, ideally one that meets the TS007 3 star standard, such as ABS High Security Cylinders.
Additional door security – When upgrading your home security you may want to consider having the following fitted to your door to help keep out any unwanted guests:
- Door chain
- Spy hole
- Letterbox guard or cage – a letterbox can be used by an intruder to retrieve any keys stored on the inside of the house therefore these products will help to protect you from ‘keyfishing’.
Secure the perimeter – The type of fencing, hedging or walls around a property can attract or deter thieves. Check for weak spots where a burglar could get into your garden, for example, a low sagging fence or a back gate with a weak lock. A thorny hedge around your home can put burglars off but make sure passers-by can still see the front of your home so a burglar can’t work unnoticed. Think about laying gravel in your garden and driveway as this acts as a deterrent due to the noise created when being walked on.
Secure your shed – Your average garden shed is a treasure trove of valuables such as power tools, bicycles and garden equipment; therefore sheds will often provide easy pickings for opportunist thieves. The majority of sheds will not be strong enough to withstand an attempt to break into them therefore if possible store your valuables in an alternative secure location such as a garage or even your house.
See the steps below on how you can improve your shed security:
- Upgrade your locks.
- Have a shed alarm fitted.
- Mark all valuables stored in your shed either using a UV pen or a DNA marker.
- Grow prickly plants close to your shed window.
- Have curtains or shades fitted to your shed window.
Lights – Even though the majority of burglaries occur during daylight hours, a large number still occur during the hours of darkness. Burglars are in search of houses with no one home. To reduce your home’s risk of burglary at night, install motion lights on the front and on the rear of your house wherever possible. To be extra cautious, try to position the lights at the corners of your residence so the motion detectors can catch someone approaching from the side. Make sure the lights are positioned at a height that someone cannot disable them by easily reaching up and unscrewing the bulb.
Protect your valuables – Don’t leave your valuables (Laptop, jewellery, mobiles etc.) where they can be seen from a window, consider drapes or blinds so that any view of the interior of your home is restricted.
The illusion of being home – If you work evenings or know you are going away on holiday for a number of weeks there are a number of cheaper options available that when used give the illusion that someone is still in the property.
- Ask a friend or neighbour to open and close curtains.
- Timer switches for lamps.
- Fake TV – Simulates the light of a LED TV.
- Pay for Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ Service to ensure any post you receive whilst you’re away doesn’t pile up; this can be a tell-tale sign that your property isn’t currently occupied.