Cycling Safety 2022

Last Updated: 05/05/2022

On a beautiful day what could be more perfect than a bike ride! With so many people going on bike rides during the pandemic, it’s become a popular hobby and a fun way to exercise. While cycling has many benefits both physically and mentally, it’s important that you stay safe while riding your bike. We will go through what the law says about cycling, how to keep yourself and others safe, while also looking at how to keep your bike secure.

 

Cycling and the Law

As a cyclist it’s important to be road safe and follow the laws around cycling and the advice given by the Government on how to cycle safely.

Currently there are over 20 laws on cycling on the road, including laws for general regulations, road junctions, roundabouts and crossing the road. This includes information on light’s, cycle lanes, pavement safety, safe clothing, traffic lights, road positioning, junctions, turnings, and crossings.

In 2022 the new Highway Code was released which changes the hierarchy of the road, placing pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders above any vehicles. This gives them greater authority on the road minimising the risk on the road to those more vulnerable.

Have a read through what is and isn’t legal and what are the important rules to follow to make sure your safety knowledge is up to scratch.

 

Know Your Turn Signals

To Turn Left:

Extend your left arm out to the side well before you intend to turn. Slowly begin to break and then make your turn.

To Turn Right:

Extend your right arm out to the side well before you intend to turn. Slowly begin to break and stop if it is not safe to turn. Ensure that there is no oncoming traffic and safely take your turn.

To Stop:

Extend either arm downward in an upside down ‘L’ position and come to a stop. Ensure that there is sufficient time between when you make the signal and when you come to a stop.

 

Check Your Equipment

Ensure That Your Seat Is Adjusted to The Proper Height and Locked in Place

The very tops of your toes should be able to reach the ground whilst on the bike, but you should not be able to place both feet on the ground at the same time. If you can do this, then your bike seat is too low.

Check The Tyres Are Inflated

Your tyres should be fully rounded with no punctures or holes. You’ll be able to tell if your tyre has been punched from a wheezing sound that is made when the tyres are inflated or if your tyres seem to deflate very quickly.

Ensure You Have Installed Reflectors at The Front and Rear of Your Bike

This will increase your visibility which is especially important at night and dusk where there is very little light. For extra safety, you can install reflectors on the pedals and spokes. However, most new bikes come with reflectors on all 4 points.

Add A Horn or A Bell

If you ever are riding in car populated areas, install a horn or a bell to be able to make people aware of you. Much like a car horn, you can alert people to your presence if you have not been seen.

Make Sure Your Breaks Are Working

Perform a brake test before every journey to ensure that your breaks are working. Spin your front wheel to a reasonable speed and then grasp the breaks and measure how fast the wheel stops spinning. It should stop almost instantly, if not you might need to get your breaks check by a professional.

 

What Should I Wear When Riding a Bike?

Ultimately, your clothing should be both comfortable and practical which will keep you safe and increase your visibility to other road users.

Bright Colours

Wear bright and fluorescent clothing to increase your visibility; this will keep you safe as drivers will be able to see you better which will decrease the chances of an accident. Try to avoid dark clothing, especially at night, but if you must, we recommend having a florescent jacket on hand to make sure you stay safe.

Tight Clothing

Don’t wear loose fitting trousers or long skirts. Wearing clothing that is loose fitting can increase the chances that it will get caught in the gears and chain of the bike causing an accident. We suggest wearing tighter fitting trousers such as jeans or leggings that would allow the best movement and minimise chances of getting caught.

Safe Shoes

Choose shoes that will grip the pedals. Shoes such as heels, sandals, flip flops, and cleated shoes will not give you sufficient grip on your bike pedals which could cause harm to you and other road users if you lose grip. Trainers are great for bike riding.

 

Wear A Helmet!

A bike helmet is the best thing you can wear to protect yourself when cycling. You are not required by law to wear one, however there are many reasons why you should wear one. They will help protect your head and brain. The risk when cycling is that you may come off your bike, this can happen for several reasons and can range in severity. In some cases, a helmet may help to prevent you getting a serious injury.

This seems like a straightforward point but surprisingly there are many things you must remember when either buying or wearing a helmet.

  • Make sure it fits snugly on your head by adjusting the sizing pads or fit ring. It should not wobble when you move your head

  • Position the helmet level on your head, it should be around about one to two fingers width above the eyebrow, so it sits covering the forehead and not tipped back

  • Adjust the side straps so they can form a V shape in either side of your ears with the buckle centred under your chin. The strap should be tight enough that only one or two fingers can fit between the chin and the strap

  • Ensure that it is well vented to stop you from overheating

Bell Avenue MIPS Road Helmet

£53 from Amazon

This helmet is easy to adjust and works very well. The helmet is made of polycarbonate and features 18 vents, which helps to keep your head cool, while cycling. It also features reflective strips on the outside, to help you be visible. It is slightly heavier than most helmets, weighing 310g, but is a good price and works well to protect you.

Specialized S-Works Evade II ANGi MIPS Road Cycling Helmet

£199.99 from Tredz

This helmet is super comfy and well ventilated; it also boasts a sleek, aerodynamic design. The ANGi technology is basically a posh crash sensor. It sits in the helmet and if it detects an impact that is powerful enough to incapacitate you, then it turns your mobile phone into a beacon. A countdown will start on the app and if you do not stop it before it reaches 0 then a designated emergency contact will be sent a message with your last know coordinates. This feature is great for those who cycle off road and in remote locations. It’s not the cheapest on the list, but you get what you pay for.

Bontrager Circuit Wavecel Road Bike Helmet

£134.99 from Trekbikes

This helmet is a good all-rounder, suitable for on and off-road cyclists at any level of skill. It’s a neat, compact helmet that stands out from other with its distinctive shape. It’s well ventilated and boasts a Boa dial retention system.

 

Bike Locks

These days, bikes are not cheap whether you have a road bike, mountain bike or a child’s bike, you want to protect it. You must lock your bike up whenever it is unattended, in public or even in a garage or outbuilding. Make sure to check the Sold Secure rating of the lock that you buy, to ensure you are giving your bike the best security.

Abus Granit X-Plus 540

£100 from Halfords

Sold Secure: Diamond

The Abus Granit doesn’t have any frills or fancy features; it purely focuses on being the strongest lock out there. It has a super hard square shackle which reduces the effectiveness of any jaw cutting tool that might be used to break it. A bonus is that even if a thief does manage to cut it, its square shape prevents it from being twisted and removed. This means a thief would have to cut it twice to remove it, this would take them more time and hopefully someone would notice what they were doing. It’s quite expensive, but not as expensive as buying a new bike if yours is stolen.

Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini

£88.99 from Bikeparts

Sold Secure: Gold

This D lock is a great lock for your bike, specifically designed for urban use. Kryptonite is so confident in their locks that if your bike is stolen while secured with their lock then they will give you £2,500 towards a new bike. It’s on the smaller side, but it uses this to its advantage, the narrow width makes the lock even tougher to break. It is also one of the heaviest locks on the market. This 18mm Gold standard U lock specs should reassure you of its durability and effectiveness.

Onguard Pitbull Dt Shackle U-Lock Plus Cable

£33.99 from Tredz

Sold Secure: Gold

If you are looking for a bike lock that’s not expensive, but still very secure, then look no further than this Onguard Pitbull. It has full Sold Secure rating but is half the price of its competitors. It’s relatively light at 1.77kg and has a nifty light feature that will help you unlock it in the dark. The U bar is covered in a vinyl that protects your frame and wheels from scratches.

5 Worst Places to Hide Your Valuables

Millions of people hide their valuables in their home. While this helps many to feel like their valuables are safe, many people actually fail to smartly hide their valuables. Even if it’s hidden out of sight, some places are known by burglars due to people commonly hiding valuables there.

Therefore, when you decide to hide something in your home, you need to make sure that they are well hidden in an unpredicted place and you avoid using all the obvious places a burglar will go to first.

In this blog, we have gathered the top worst places to hide your valuables to keep your items as safe as possible in case of any intrusion!

 

Drawers

Many people tend to believe that drawers are a secure place to hide everything as you can hide it underneath clothing or bedding etc. But think of it this way, when you lose something, the first thing you will do is open any drawer that you use often and look for it in case you have misplaced there or have accidentally dropped it.

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A burglar thinks the same way as it’s the easiest place to check if there are any valuables. Whether it is an underwear or socks drawer, desk drawer, or bedside drawer, burglars will certainly look there first!

 

Freezer or Fridge

Hiding valuables in the fridge or freezer has become increasingly common. It’s a tactic that has featured in many movies and therefore the chances of a burglar rummaging through your frozen food has actually risen.

Burglars often look through the fridge looking for prescription medication, which they can sell on later. People have been known to wrap their valuables in foil or store them in food packaging inside the fridge, however, burglars are smarter than you think and know these tricks very well.

 

Children’s Bedroom

Years ago, hiding your valuables in a child’s bedroom would have been a brilliant idea, however these days kids’ bedrooms are highly targeted in burglaries. Today children possess many high value gadgets, including TV’s, tablets, game consoles and many more that can attract burglars to their rooms. Once inside, it’s no surprise that they will dig deeper to see if there are any hidden valuables in the room! Make sure you keep your children’s items and your valuables safe by avoiding the bedroom as a hiding spot.

 

Under the Mattress or Bed

Movies alone makes the mattress a very obvious place for hiding anything. One of the first things a burglar will look at will be under your mattress or bed. Some people leave a box with valuable items under the bed as it is out of sight, others will hide some cash under the mattress as it is also out of sight and won’t be obvious with any bump. However, these are two of the worst places to hide it.

Not only is it an obvious place for burglars to look, but also easily reachable, which makes it on top of the worst hiding places list!

 

Toilet Tank

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A long time ago, toilet tanks were an excellent place to hide items. However, with an extensive use in several movies and TV series, it has become a very predictable place for thieves. It’s also a easily accessible place, with removing the lid taking few seconds, making it another hiding place to completely avoid.

 

What are the Best Places to Hide Your Valuables at Home?

Now that we stated the worst places to hide your valuables at in your home, here are few ideas of the best places to hide your valuables you can consider:

 

A Safe

A safe is a great option to keep your valuables safe. The only tip we have when with purchasing a safe is to make sure it cannot be taken away. A thief might think of taking the whole safe away to sort out opening it without any rush at a later date! Read our guide to buying a safe here.

 

Inside the Hoover

Burglars usually are in hurry and hoovers are usually not the easiest to open. It’s an odd suggestion but it’s one that a burglar wouldn’t think of. Just make sure it’s not one that your using!

 

In a Clock

You can actually get clocks that open so that you can place valuables inside them and works very well if you have several clocks. A burglar wouldn’t have the time to be opening each clock you have in the house to check if it has got any valuables or cash inside.

 

False Bottomed Drawer

Instead of using actual drawers, false bottomed ones are more secure and mean that even if a burglar does go searching through your draws your items have some extra protection.

 

In your Loft

A loft is in fact a good place to hide things due to the difficulty to reach it. Burglars will not want to waste time accessing a loft and leaving it to prevent getting caught, which makes it a good place to hide your valuable items! Read our blog here on how to secure a loft.

 

To conclude, hiding your valuables can be frustrating as burglars are cruel but clever. Most of the unexpected hiding spots have been exposed in movies and TV shows, making them predictable places targeted by burglars. Make sure you read our tips of worst places to hide your valuable to make sure all your items are safe and secure!

 

About Keytek® Locksmiths

At Keytek® Locksmiths, we are committed to assisting you in keeping your house secure, which is why we are always upgrading our security content on our website. If you were interested in this blog, we recommend that you take a look at our Home Security Guide here where we break down home security into sections like your front door, garden gate, outdoor lights and more.

The UK’s Most Burgled Cities and Towns 2022

Burglaries typically increase during the colder, darker months, however a side effect of the current Coronavirus Pandemic has seen a 72% decrease for the first time in 2 years, crime rates are still high in certain cities and towns in the UK.

In this blog we take you through the statistics of the most burgled cities and towns in the UK and what you can do to reduce your risk.

 

What are the Most Burgled Cities and Towns in the UK?

  1. Sheffield (205 burglaries per 100,000 residents)

2. Liverpool (197 burglaries per 100,000 residents)

3. Southampton (191 burglaries per 100,000 residents)

4. Birmingham (187 burglaries per 100,000 residents)

5. Hull and Oxford (169 burglaries per 100,000 residents)

6. Leeds (164 burglaries per 100,000 residents)

7. Portsmouth (160 burglaries per 100,000 residents)

8. London (159 burglaries per 100,000 residents)

9. Bradford (156 burglaries per 100,000 residents)

According to the Mirror, Sheffield is the most burgled location in the UK, with approximately 205 burglaries between each 100,000 residents. In the first 3 months of 2021, the northern city recorded 286% more burglaries than the city with the lowest proportion of break-ins, York (52 burglaries per 100,000 people).

 

Burglary Statistics by Area

Based on what area you live in, the odds of experiencing house burglary highly differs. In fact, on average England there are 10.2 burglaries for every 1,000 houses in 2021 which ranks it higher than Wales with 6.4 burglaries in every 1,000 houses in 2021. The following shows 2021 burglary rates of areas in England and Wales.

  • North West (11.5 per 1,000 houses)
  • North East (9.5 per 1,000 houses)
  • East Midlands (8.9 per 1,000 houses)
  • West Midlands (10.7 per 1,000 houses)
  • East (8.0 per 1,000 houses)
  • South East (8.0 per 1,000 houses)
  • South West (5.7 burglaries per 1,000 houses)

The North West is the hardest hit with 11.5 burglaries in every 1,000 houses. This includes the average for areas such as Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and Merseyside. The South West, on the other hand, stands well compared to other areas, including includes Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire.

For more burglary statistics specific to UK areas and counties, click here!

 

Interesting UK Burglary Facts

  • Every 108 seconds, a burglary occurs
  • The majority of burglaries take place during the day
  • During a burglary, 58 percent of the time someone is at home
  • Burglaries take less than ten minutes to prepare
  • Young people are burgled more than old people

For more interesting burglary facts, click here!

 

What Can You Do to Avoid Burglary?

There are lots of things that you can do to help make yourself less of a target to burglars, these can include:

 

1.  Make it tough to break into your home by making it appear occupied.

There are several ways you can make your home look occupied. Timed lighting, driveway presence, cancelled deliveries, and non-piled up newspapers are all ways to avoid an empty house burglary.

 

2.  Before you leave home or go to bed, make sure all outside doors and windows are locked.

Again, even though you should be locking your door and window every day, it’s important to always keep in mind that you can easily forget in a moment of hassle. Make sure you always lock your outside doors and windows before night time or leaving the house.

 

3.  Keep your garage door shut and locked at all times.

Garage security depends mainly on the garage door, and therefore locking it at all times is important. A garage door monitor can serve as a helpful reminder. Simply attach the sensor to the door and place the monitor in a visible location. Look for “garage door monitor” on the internet to find one. It makes no difference what brand of door or opener you have; any monitor will function. Because it could close the door whether you’re home or not, an automated door gives even greater security.

 

4.  Avoid any daily mail, newspaper, or flyer deliveries to accumulate while you are away.

Post is daily in the UK and burglars will often use it as an indicator of whether a house is occupied. If you plan to leave your property unoccupied for a long period of time, you could  arrange for your mail to be held at the Post Office or for a friend or neighbour to pick it up on a regular basis.

 

5.  Install a security camera

It is one of the most effective deterrents for burglars since they make it nearly impossible to break in without being seen. Experts believe that if people had CCTV monitoring, up to 67% of household burglaries could be avoided.

 

6.  Install motion lighting

Outdoor security motion lights are a great crime deterrent as they remove the veil of darkness that burglars and other home intruders prefer to hide in.

 

7.  Install a burglar alarm

A burglar alarm can rapidly alert the police and others in the area, increasing the chances of the burglar being caught and can even act as a deterrent in the first place!

 

8.  Additional lock security

There are many ways to add extra security to your door lock. You can consider a deadbolt strike plate, a heavy and high-quality deadbolt or higher security lock models.

 

9. Upgrade to a smart doorbell

Unexpected visitors are likely to knock on your door, but smart doorbells allow you to see who is at the door before even opening it and with the integrated video camera it acts as a great deterrent against burglary.

10. Add door security accessories

From door viewers to door chains, door bars, and door plates, installing door accessories provides you with high security and privacy and certainly reduce the chances of getting burgled.

 

Consider Joining the Neighbourhood Watch

As part of our security advice, we also recommend that you either join or start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

Neighbourhood Watch works to bring neighbours together who want to look out for each other, creating strong, friendly, active communities where crime and antisocial behaviour are less likely to happen.

To find your local Neighbourhood Watch, or for information on how to start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, please visit here!

Neighbourhood watch and UK most burgled cities and towns

 

Call your Local Keytek® Locksmith!

At Keytek® Locksmiths, we are committed to assisting you in keeping your house secure, which is why we are always upgrading our security content on our website. If you were interested in this blog we recommend that you take a look at our Home Security Guide here where we break down home security into sections like your front doorgarden gateoutdoor lights and more.

What to do if someone breaks into your home

While the likelihood of being confronted by a burglar is slim, there is chance it could happen. The majority of burglaries tend to happen when the house is empty, but 28% of house break-ins are thought to occur when someone is home. This could be an extremely traumatic experience and you might be at a loss of what to do. We will go through some ways that you can handle the situation if this were to happen to you.

 

Burglar in your Home? Get to a Safe Place outside your Home

Many people ask “what is the first step if someone burgled my house?”. The police recommend your first course of action should always be to leave your home in the even that someone breaks in, and this is something we can’t stress enough. It’s been proven that burglars just want to be in and out of your property as quickly as possible and don’t want to cause you harm.

It’s likely that an intruder will already have an escape route planned, which according to statistics, is most likely out of the back door.

According to safe.co.uk:

“Burglars will have a clear exit to the rear of the property through the back door before heading upstairs to check the bedrooms”.

If we take this as correct, we would advise that you try and escape through the front door and stay as far away as possible from the back door. We would NEVER advise that you confront a burglar, as this is likely to cause a violent reaction. Nothing that they could take is worth risking your life for.

 

Activate Your Burglar Alarm System

Your second plan of action would to be activate your burglar alarm if you have one. This would be especially important if you have a panic button. If you don’t have an alarm fitted then try to set off your car alarm using your keys. Any loud noise will hopefully spook a burglar into running away.

 

Hide and Try to Call the Police

Your third option would be to hide. Once you are somewhere safe try to call the police. The best place to hide would be somewhere that you can either lock the door from the inside or barricade yourself in.

Once you call 999, you need to explain that someone has broken into your home. It’s important that you’re clear when you explain what is happening, although you could be extremely panicked in the moment, try to be concise.

If you are in a situation where speaking or making noise could put you in danger then you can stay silent and press 55 (silent solutions) this will alert the operator that you need assistance but cannot make a noise. Stay on the line so they can hear what’s happening, but it’s important that you stay where you are and wait for the police.

 

Be Calm, Collected and Compliant

If all else fails and you come face to face with an intruder then you have reached the worst case scenario. So, what do you do now?

One of the best things you can do is to stay calm, this is easier said than done, but try your best. The calmer you are, the calmer the burglar should be. Keep your voice at a normal level and don’t shout and scream. Don’t move towards the burglar and don’t make any sudden movements.

Another very important thing to do is to be compliant, hold up your hands and tell them to take whatever they want. Do not put your life at risk to stop them from taking anything. It could be that the intruder has covered their face with a mask or balaclava, but regardless of whether you can see their face, try not to make eye contact, and don’t look directly at them. If a burglar feels like you can identify them, then this could lead to an act of aggression.

 

What to Do After Your House is Broken Into

Your first course of action after you discover your home has been broken into, is to call the police. If you are 100% sure that the burglar is not still in the property then you should call 101.

However, if there is even a small chance the intruder is still inside then you should call 999. You MUST NOT touch anything before the police arrive, as they will be testing for finger and foot prints.

If the intruder is no longer in your property, then the police should arrive within a few hours, as the situation is no longer an emergency. Once they do arrive, they will take your full written statement, try to be clear and give as much information as possible. Once they have done all their procedures, you will be given a crime number to be able to track the progress of your case.

Once the police have left is when you should call an emergency Locksmith to secure your home. An emergency locksmith can either replace your locks or if your door is damaged beyond repair then they can do emergency boarding up, to make sure your home is secure. To find out more about emergency locksmiths visit our Emergency Locksmith Page.

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What am I allowed to do if someone breaks into my Home?

If a person were to enter your house without your permission, you are entitled to act in self-defence using reasonable force. The CPS have previously stated that you don’t have to wait to be attacked to act in self-defence, but they are very clear that only actions deemed necessary are counted as reasonable force.  

If you are to use force that is considered more than reasonable and a burglar was to suffer serious injuries during this, then you may be prosecuted. The general rule if self-defence is that the more extreme the situation the more force you can reasonably use.  

We would never recommend that you confront a burglar and it only to be used as a last resort. You need to try all other courses of action before this.

 

How do you Report an Attempted House Break-in?

If you suspect that a break-in attempt has been made, you should NOT call 999. Calling 999 is only used when you or another person are in immediate danger, or there is a crime currently being committed. As long as there is no immediate danger you should call 101 if you suspect there has been a break-in attempt.

 

What Attracts Burglars to Homes?

Any burglar’s aim is to be in and out of a property quickly, with as much stolen property as possible. So, they are more likely to target homes where they are least likely to get caught. Having things like overgrown trees and bushes and no external lighting makes it easier for a burglar to break in undetected. 47% of break-ins are spur of the moment decisions and are not pre planned, so the more secure you make your home the less likely a burglar is to choose yours.

One thing that will really attract a burglar to your home is exposed valuables. If they can see many of your most expensive items from the window then the more likely they are to try to smash and grab as much as they can. If your home looks very secure with no valuables on display a burglar is more likely to move on without attempting to break in.

 

Do Burglars Come Back After a Failed Attempt?

There are a number of things that thankfully could have prevented a burglar from entering your home; however, this doesn’t mean that they won’t try again. Unfortunately, the burglar thought that they would have been able to enter your home and would have targeted you for a reason, there is a chance that they still could think they may be able to do it successfully at a later date.

If all your security precautions do, thankfully, stop a burglar from entering your home, then that’s great. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can relax, they could try again, they targeted your home for a reason and that might mean they will attempt to break in a second time.

 

How to Protect Against Future Burglaries

Consider Installing a Burglar Alarm

The physical sight of a burglar alarm is a great visual deterrent to ward off any burglars scouting the area but also provides the sense of peace that if someone was to enter your home the burglar alarm would sound, alerting people in the area of a break in and scare off the burglar.

Act like More People are Home

If you are home alone and the doorbell goes you should always try to make it sound as though you are not home alone, you could do this by shouting “Can some get the door please” before opening the door yourself. Deterring burglars is all about appearance, giving the facade that your home isn’t easy to break into, that there are multiple occupants in the house are factors that would be considered when a burglar is choosing a target.

Teach Children How to Respond To Strangers and Intruders

A knock at the door can be exciting for children, running up to see who it is and want they might want, but this can be partially dangerous if they were to accidentally let in a stranger. Teach your children to never open the door, especially if home alone, but instead turn on a light somewhere in the house and notify someone that there has been a knock at the door.

Invest in a Few Simple Items to Make your Home Less of a Target

There are multiple things that you can do to make your home more secure and a less attractive target to intruders. Simple things such as outdoor security lights, thorny bushes and anti-climb paint are all blockers that you can implement to secure your home. To find out how to secure all the different aspects of your home head over to our Ultimate Home Security Guide.

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What are the Chances of Someone Breaking into Your House at Night?

Shockingly, night house burglary doesn’t make up the highest percentage of when are houses burgled. Most burglaries actually happen during the day, typically between 10 AM and 3 PM when everyone is either at work or school. Despite that, most burglars will also take advantage of the dark to burglar houses so security lighting is always a good way to reduce your chance of someone breaking into your house at night!

 

Change your Locks after a Burglary

Don’t waste time thinking what to do after a burglary! Once the police have left your property then you should call an Emergency Locksmith to avoid a further potential of a thief breaking in, to check if any doors or windows are damaged, or to check if you need emergency boarding up services. Keytek® Locksmiths has local Locksmiths available 24/7 so we can help you out whenever. 28% of people will get burgled for a second time at the same address, so it is important that your house is secure. Burglars will often target the same house again because of ease and familiarity. They might think they have been successful once, so they can be successful again, so it is imperative that you engage a fully accredited, trustworthy Locksmith in the UK to make your home secure again.

 

For more info on what to do after a house break in visit our Burglary Page.

 

 

Updated January 2022

House Robbery Markings

Have you ever seen a strange marking on the side or nearby your house, such as on the curb or on your bin? Have you ever come across the term “burglar code”? Did you know that burglars have been thought to frequently use a symbol code to mark out residences they wish to break into? Burglars seem to be increasingly relying on codes, symbols, and markings to assist them in choosing houses to target and in recent times there has been much speculation about these signs, which is wittily dubbed the ‘da pinchi code’.

Although the comedic name is something to be wary of. You might be asking what do these signs mean and what should you do if you are worried about being burgled? Read through our blog to answer these questions and more!

 

What are House Robbery Markings?

These ‘robbery markings’ or ‘burglar signals’ are basic sketches and forms that are supposedly used as a ‘code’ to determine whether a house is worth targeting. These illustrations are also supposed to indicate to other thieves what type of person lives at the property, such as whether the residents are vulnerable, elderly, or live in a single-family home. Read below to know more about all thief signs on houses and how to protect your house!

 

The ‘Da Pinchi Code’

The da pinchi code is the name that has been used across social media sites and news stories over the last few years that have claimed to crack the code on burglar markings! The meanings behind the markings are deemed to mean things such as ‘vulnerable occupant’, ‘alarmed house’ and ‘wealthy’.

Recently, there have been new news stories related to the ‘da pinchi code’ which rules out these findings as being burglar code based on police research, instead the meanings of the markings being much more innocent. Check out our image below to see the markings, their supposed meaning and the true meaning behind them.

 

infographic house markings

 

What Do Burglars Use to Mark Houses?

Chalk is the main material burglars use as it is easily removed and not as noticeable as materials such as spray paint markings outside the house. As well as burglar chalk signs, burglars mark houses with almost anything they can; it may be a small blob of paint or a piece of string tied around a lamppost!

White and blue spray paint markings outside the house are the most common colours used by burglars. Make sure you keep an eye out for both colour pains to avoid getting burgled!

There was also a stint in 2018 mainly found in Dublin where burglars would place clear tape over the keyholes on the exterior access doors. If the tape is left intact for the next couple of days they would know the house is currently vacant!

As well as markings, burglars also may disguise themselves as door to door salesmen; this is what we call distraction burglary. They may also post fake Locksmith contact details through your door for example, always do your research before calling trades people to ensure they are legitimate! If you need a trustworthy Locksmith, contact us here!

 

Where are these Burglar Signs Usually Located?

The burglar signs themselves are often left somewhere on the property, such as a garden wall or driveway, but are also found somewhere nearby. Chalk marks on pavement, bin, lamp post, or curb are all examples of where you can find them nearby.

 

How do Robbers Pick a House?

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Burglars who place these signs on houses or in the neighbourhood have usually already scouted the area and determined which residences are potentially the best targets. In most cases, planned burglaries will have had the house watched for a few days to learn who lives there, their daily schedules, whether they have up-to-date home security system, and whether there is anything of value within the property. Learn more about how to avoid attracting robbers to your home in this guide!

 

How Do you Know if your House has been Marked?

You might find a few different symbols around your property that seem odd or strange, in odd places that the council or workmen wouldn’t leave markings for official work. If you happen to find marks on your property that seem out of place or like an illustration, this will be burglar signs!

What Should I do if there are Chalk Markings Outside my House?

So, you may have noticed strange chalk markings outside your house or nearby? First of all, take a photo of the suspected burglar sign, make a detailed note of its location, when you first noticed it and then wash it away as best as you can.

Next, we recommend that you contact your local council to ensure the markings weren’t left by their employees doing work along the street.

Following on, if not left there by the council contact the police using the non-emergency number, 101. They may advise you to keep an eye on and record suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, including strangers frequently walking up and down the road and looking or photographing yours or your neighbours’ homes! Take into consideration that burglar road markings are very common and therefore talking to your neighbours about this can also indicate whether they have noticed anything strange and you can ask them to keep an eye out moving forward.

Finally, it is strongly recommended that you upgrade your home security to be on the safe side, continue on to see our suggestions.

Myth Busters

Although you should always be wary of any strange markings that have appeared on your home, over the last couple of years some police forces have found that in actual fact these markings are harmless! Their investigations often conclude that these markings have been used by utility firms and broadband companies to plan upcoming works. So if you do happen to find weird markings round your property don’t panic!

Is the “Da Pinchi Code” the Only Robbery Markings used by Burglars?

Many people ask how to tell of a burglar is watching your house? Although the “da pinchi code” are thought to be the main markings used by burglars anywhere on or close to your house, there are other ways that is worth considering that burglars can use to keep an eye out on your property and test whether it is frequently occupied. If you have found a stone in front of your car wheel, then you should know it could be a test from a burglar to see if you use your parked car or not.

Another scenario that has been experienced by some residents is thrown food cans on your doorstep; it is another way to leave a mark on your property and undoubtedly if cleaned then the property is occupied while if it’s left for days then they assume it is not and find it a good burglar opportunity.

There are also some common signs which you should consider when thinking about your home security.  One of the most common indicators can be a random knock at your door. This can be done by burglars to see whether you have a dog or a security system that will alert them if they break in.

Random acts of vandalism may also be observed, for example a shattered window in a remote portion of your house could be a test to see if the house is occupied. Also, if you find your trash rummaged through or strewn about, it’s possible that someone is looking for information to see if you’re a good target.

If you have experienced any of the other mentioned signs, we suggest you do a quick search to see if your house is marked.

Make sure you consider the many types of markings a burglar can leave as it is not restricted to the ‘da pinchi’ code. What you can do in this case is join your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme if you are away from home for a while!

 

How to Protect your Home Against Burglars

Here are a few quick tips that you can apply today to avoid house robbery.

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Upgrade your Home Security Knowledge with Keytek® Locksmiths

We are dedicated to helping you keep your home secure and avoid house robbery here at Keytek® which is why we are continually updating our security content on our website. If you were interested in this blog we recommend that you take a look at our Home Security Guide here where we break down home security into sections such as your front door, garden gate, outdoor lights and more.

Already checked out our Home Security Guide? Take a look at our blog page here; we aim to upload a new blog for our readers weekly!

Best Outdoor Security Cameras

Upgrading your home security to include external cameras is a practical and effective way to protect your home. However, to make the most of your surveillance requirements, you’ll need to assess the needs of you and your family, as not everyone will need the same level of security.

So, we’ve put together a guide to help you look at which outdoor security camera is best for you, your family and your home.

What you need to consider

 

Weatherproof or Waterproof?

Weatherproof means that your camera will be able to withstand exposure to weather without deterioration, so your camera could handle wind, rain, and snow without being damaged. Whereas waterproof means that your camera isn’t going to break if it’s submerged in water; no water will get in to the components to destroy them.

A consideration for buying an outdoor security camera will need to be the weather conditions where you live, to make sure you get the right one. If you live in Scotland, for example, where you get a lot of snow; it would probably be worth getting a weatherproof camera, but if you live on the South Coast of England where snow is a remote possibility, you could probably manage with just a waterproof camera.

How much of your property do you need on camera?

A camera’s viewing angle will determine how much space the camera will cover. A camera with a wider angle will mean you need fewer cameras. You will also need to think about the size of your property and how much you want in view; this will determine how many cameras you will need to buy or how wide the camera angle will need to be.

How clear do you want the picture to be?

You need to think about what kind of video you want from your outdoor security camera. The higher resolution the camera has, the better the picture quality will be. For a good quality image, you need at least 1080p, or even higher if you want crystal clear images. It depends if you are going to be studying the footage every day, or only if there is an issue.

What Resolution do you Need?

Resolution should always come on top of your mind when you decide on buying a security camera. Having a high resolution is very important as it shows you details of whoever is in front of the camera, which also leads to the main reason why people get security cameras, having a clear image of whoever is trying to break into your house. The 1080p resolution is the most common amongst all types/brands of security cameras. Again, the level of sharpness and details you will see in a video should be decided based on why you want a security camera. A security camera for the purpose of watching the kids and pets, for instance, could have less resolution than a security camera for the purpose of avoiding burglary. When an intruder breaks in your house, it is important not only to know they got inside but also to help police catch them to prevent any other intrusion in the future.

Do you want to be able to access your camera on your mobile?

This is popular feature because it allows you to check in with your home wherever you are. You will need to make sure you choose a camera that is compatible with your phone and be prepared to pay a fee for your footage. Most cloud based features will require monthly or yearly fees payed to the company that makes the camera you choose.

How much do you want to spend?

You can get pretty cheap basic security cameras, but it is a case of ‘you get what you pay for’, one or two basic cameras will be around £150-£250 but if you want multi-camera, indoor and outdoor top of the range camera with all the fancy extras, then you could be looking at thousands of pounds.

Are there disadvantages to installing a security camera?

It is hard to say any additional security would be disadvantageous generally in installing it. However, the cons of installing a security camera can still fall into different aspects:

  • Can’t 100% stop theft – though security cameras are a great addition to burglary, it only prevents but never stops theft.

  • Can be easily vulnerable – while we always try and keep ourselves up to date to all security systems that can keep us safe, so are burglars. An experienced burglar will likely be able to understand your device and find ways to disconnect it.

  • Privacy issues – security cameras, in general, have been affiliated with many controversies regarding privacy as it prevents someone’s privacy based on where it is placed. No matter where you are installing your camera, it is important to consider all government regulations to avoid getting in trouble.

The Best Outdoor Security Cameras in 2021

1.  Arlo Pro 4 Wireless Camera

Overall Best – £219.99 from Amazon

Features

  • 6 month Battery health
  • 2k Video with HDR
  • 160 Degree Field View
  • Colour clear night vision in complete dark

The smart device, Arlo Pro 4, can be controlled and connected with your choice of smart assistance, including Apple Home Kit (interestingly it also works with your Apple Watch), Alexa, and Google Assistant. Setting it up is very easy; all it takes is a few minutes as you open the app and follow all the steps.

Certainly, the Arlo Pro 4 is weather resistant so you can place it wherever you want no matter the weather! Alongside the camera is built-in siren which mainly is used to put off burglars. A two way audio is also included, which can be used to scare off burglars by speaking (letting them know your house is not empty!). While most cameras will provide you with clear quality, the Arlo Pro4 gives you a superior coloured quality.

 

2.     Reolink Camera Wireless Argus 2

Most Affordable – £67.19 from Amazon

Features

  • 1080p HD Resolution
  • 130 degree field of view
  • Up to 64GB of storage video
  • Six Infrared LED sensors to help you see in complete darkness

The Reolink Camera Wireless Argus 2 is one of the most affordable options out there. However, this doesn’t mean it lacks any of the options you would want.Along with a reasonable price, set up only takes a few minutes and it comes equipped with not only a brilliant camera but also a built-in siren that could scare away burglars. Given that it’s a smart device, Google Assistant is compatible with it, offering the convenience to access the camera from your phone.Of course, the Reolink Argus 2 outdoor camera is weatherproof, making it adaptable to be placed anywhere you want and with it’s rechargeable battery with a solar panel it will continually charge! Lastly, the Reolink Argus 2 has a 2 way audio system, which can be used for many different reasons including pre-set voice alerts and live communication.

 

3.      Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera

Best for scaring away burglars – £89.99 from Amazon

Features

  • 1080p HD resolution
  • Weatherproof
  • 130 degree field view
  • Coloured night vision
  • 6 months battery

The Arlo Essential Spotlight outdoor camera is a perfect choice for putting off burglars, considering all its features. Besides providing a sharp video, it sends email alerts as soon as it recognizes any motion and it even works well with smart apps, such as Alexa and Google Assistant, providing convenient security. In just a few steps that are prompted through the app, set up is easy and fast but what makes the Arlo Essential Spotlight unique in scaring off burglars is that you get 2 devices in one not only does it capture and record video, but the attached spotlight draws attention on anyone who might be lurking around. The camera is weather resistant also which makes it easy to place it anywhere!

 

4. Blink Outdoors 1-Camera System

Best for long life battery – £89.99 from Amazon.

Features

  • Two year battery life
  • Motion detection
  • Weatherproof
  • 1080p Sharp Resolution
  • 110 degree field view

The Blink Outdoors has many pros, however one of the main reasons why it’s so popular is its good battery life. Considering it uses two AA batteries that last for up to 2 years, it is a perfect choice if you are a person who goes away for a long time. It’s also very easy to replace the camera’s batteries once their life ends. Other advantages to the camera are detecting motion through email alerts on your phone, working well Alexa, and withstanding all different weathers.

 

5.      Ring Stick-Up Cam Battery

£89.99 from Amazon

Features

  • Live view
  • 130 degree field view
  • 1080p Resolution
  • Two way audio
  • 6-12 months battery life

The Ring Stick-Up Cam Battery by Amazon comes on top of the list when it comes to convenience. In addition to integrating with Alexa and Google Assistant, the camera offers instant notifications as well as two ways audio, working in different climates and adaptable to weather changes. The camera will automatically change to its night mode whenever it’s needed, which certainly provides a better quality to use at night. Another advantage is that it could be powered by Ethernet, which instantly eliminates any wireless internet connection concerns. This is a very safe option knowing that if your Wi-Fi went down for any reason, your camera will still be working and providing you protection.

6. Google Nest Cam

Best for intelligent alerts – £319.99 from Currys 

Features

  • Indoor or Outdoor
  • 1080p HD resolution
  • 130 degree field of view
  • Two way audio communication

This camera is best known for its intelligent alerts which identifies whether a motion was an animal, person, or vehicle. In fact, it can even send alerts when it detects the sound of a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm going off! It’s no surprise its face recognition also works very well and no further surprise that it does so by working with Google Assistant. Although it is weatherproof and designed to be placed outdoors, its easy installation has seen it be used indoor as a security camera also. As a wireless camera, there are no wires just the simple download of an app to get going.

 

Smart Locks vs Traditional Locks

Having a secure door lock is one of the most effective ways to protect your home and ever since Smart Locks came on to the market, there has been an ongoing debate about whether they are A) safe, and B) more secure than Traditional Locks. We are going to look at a thorough comparison of smart and Traditional Locks, and see which comes out on top as the most secure.

Traditional Locks

When we talk about ‘Traditional’ locks, we are referring to the typical locks you see on pretty much every door; a Euro Lock, Mortice, Yale type (Night Latch) etc. These are the locks that you know already, and will most likely have on your door. These locks need a physical key to open them. Have a look on our ultimate guide to traditional locks here.

Traditional Lock

Smart Locks

When we talk about ‘Smart’ locks we are referring to a lock that is controlled by your phone, or another devise such as a fob. These locks use either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and not a physical key to unlock your door. Read our ultimate guide on smart locks here!

Smart Locks

Door Lock Security

This one is the biggy. Which lock is actually more secure? The one big issue facing Smart Locks is that anything that is connected to the internet can be vulnerable to hacking. So if you install a Smart Lock for your home, there is a chance someone could break in by hacking the lock. This is one fundamental flaw that affects all Smart Locks.

With Traditional Locks it’s hard to give an overview of safety because they are all different and many factors have to be taken into consideration. However, we will just look at common locks that you will find on your front door, like a Euro or a Mortice Lock, as they are vulnerable to picking.

Traditional front door locks are susceptible to breaks in; arguably just as much as or even more so than a Smart Lock. An experienced burglar can snap a Euro Lock and gain entry to your house in seconds (see more on our lock snapping page). You can invest in an anti-snapping lock, but this is still vulnerable to ‘picking’.  This is also true of Mortice Locks. You can get high security locks that are anti-snap and anti-pick.

When deciding which the most secure lock is for you home, you need to think about whether it’s more likely an intruder will pick your lock, or hack it. Statistics show us that burglary is a crime of opportunity, so it’s not likely an intruder will have pre planned to hack into your smart door lock. As discussed, Smart Locks often run off Bluetooth or Wi-Fi so there is always a chance this will fail, potentially leaving your home vulnerable.

There is a lot of debate about which lock is the most secure lock for your home. Both have the strengths and weaknesses.  So, comparing them on secureness might not make you decided one way or another. It’s the other factors that might make up your mind.

Convenience

This is an area where Smart Locks definitely come out on top. The ability to let someone into your home from miles away is great. Especially if you have children that tend to misplace their keys during the school day. In this day and age, people are generally never without their phones, so it’s a good way to ensure you are never locked out.

With Traditional Locks, if you want to grant someone access to your home while you are not in, you would have to trust them with a key, or leave on under the mat (which we strongly advise against). These can both cause security issues, as it’s an open invitation to any burglar who finds it and you trust someone not to lose the key. Having a Traditional Lock also means that if you lose your key or lock yourself out, whomever else has a key would need to physically come to your location to let you in.

However, a phone running out of battery, having no internet access or something disrupting the Bluetooth means that you could be locked out of a Smart Lock. Most Smart Locks do have a key override for this reason, but you may feel this defeats the object of having a smart door lock, a physical key is never going to run out of battery or lose connection.

 

versatility & Control

The Smart Lock market is growing very quickly, and more options are constantly introduced to the market. When it comes to versatility, Smart Locks come on top of the competition. Although the device is controlled by a phone or other smart device, regular keys will also work most of the time. Some Smart Locks have fingerprint scanners on the inside, while others have touch sensors that actuate the lock to open or close a door. In terms of versatility, some Smart Locks can even connect to different other smart devices, including the Amazon Echo.  As for control, you can use key tag, keypad, or your mobile phone to control your lock or even to log in activities and see who has accessed your door when you are away. Traditional locks wouldn’t be considered as versatile. There are many options with different brands in the market, but the way to use them is often somewhat the same.  As for traditional locks, you can control who has a key and ensure that you have high security locks fitted, but this does not protect you from having your keys stolen.

Smart lock vs traditional lock cost

smart lock vs traditional lock cost

Generally speaking, Smart Locks are more expensive than Traditional Locks and this could be a big factor in your decision. So we will run through some general prices and what you get for your money. (This is not taking in the account the cost of hiring a locksmith to fit/replace your locks)

Depending on what door you have the cost for a new lock will change. A replacement cylinder for a uPVC door starts at £25 for the most basic lock. This price will change if you have a wooden door, as you will probably need a Yale lock replacement or a Mortice Lock replacement. With a Yale Lock you can just replace the cylinder and that starts at £15 and upwards, but if you needed the whole lock and back set replaced, the price starts at £35. When changing a Mortice Lock you need to decide if you want a 3 Lever or 5 Lever, (5 Levers are generally used for external doors, and 3 Levers for internal).  5 Levers start at around £45 and 3 Levers at £25.

If you wanted high security locks then the price will jump up again. For the highest grade anti-snap or anti-bump lock, the price will start at £30. Higher security Mortice Locks start at around £40.

There is no denying that Smart Locks are more expensive than Traditional Locks. The cheapest Smart Lock out there is the Candy House Sesame Smart Lock and that’s around £100. The bigger names for Smart Locks out there are August and Yale and they will set you back around £250-£300 for the basic package. You have to think whether or not the extra cost is worth it, but you get all the benefits; lock and unlock your house from anywhere, send friends and family virtual keys and receive notifications about whose entering and leaving.

Smart Locks will use the same mechanisms as Traditional Locks, so really you are paying extra for convenience. If you wanted to pay extra for home security, you might be better off investing in an entire smart home system that includes cameras, motion detectors and an alarm system.

The Future of Home Locks

The future of technology holds many aspects in home security. The main concern is what the future will be like in terms of home security, especially when it comes to your property’s first line of defence, which is your lock. In fact, smart locks will be part the ever changing technology just like other smart device. Just like any other technological device, it is very expected that smart locks will the future of home locks, with convenience taking a huge aspect of it.  In fact, in 2020, 47% of UK households own already a smart home device, apart from smart TVs and watches.  Therefore, it is not a surprise to expect that convenience would win and the future will be mainly smart locks.

 

For a full buyer’s guide on Smart locks visit our Smart Locks Blog.

Call Keytek® Today!

There is nothing that can make your house 100% secure, but by taking some simple measures you can deter thieves. Look out for sturdy doors and windows or consider replacing them when they are old and worn. Having the locks changed is one of the BEST things you can do to protect your new home.

Hiring a professional Locksmith to fit these is the only way to be sure that your locks are insurance compliant. Keytek® offer a free home security check with every job we do, so if you book us in for the day you move we can appraise your home and give you our best advice on how to keep the burglars away.

You can find a rough guide for the cost of Locksmith services on our Locksmith Prices Page.