With the festive season officially over and a new tide of New Year’s resolutions being created, should the security of our homes be on our list of improvements for 2019? Recent research from MoneySuperMarket reveals that your home is 11 per cent more likely to be burgled during the winter months than the rest of the year.
The research shows that 50 per cent of Brits are most concerned about the safety of their homes whilst on holiday, summer months pose less of a threat to your home’s security than winter or autumn, with burglars utilising the cover of darker evenings.
Currently, the most popular home security method employed by 42 per cent of the British public – is to double-lock their doors, with 39 per cent ensuring all doors are double locked before leaving the house or going to bed. But while this does discourage some burglars, 70 per cent still gained access via doors last year. Of these, 29 per cent got in by forcing the locks, 10 per cent broke or cut a panel of the door and 15 per cent simply entered through an unlocked door.
The most common measures Brits are taking to protect their homes are:
- Window locks – 90 per cent
- Double locks or deadlocks – 84 per cent
- Light timers or sensors – 56 per cent
- Security chains or bolts – 34 per cent
- Burglar alarms – 32 per cent
However, despite 32 per cent having burglar alarms, only one in 10 (10 per cent) people say they would alert the police as their first response to hearing an alarm, calling the effectiveness of this security measure into question. 58 per cent of people’s first response would be merely to look out of the window.
Protecting your home
With security risks high, there are a number of different things to watch out for this winter, or to add to your list of home improvements this New Year:
- Close your windows – It may seem obvious, but dark evenings provide an easy cover for burglars to sneak in if they spot valuables within an easy distance of your open window.
- Keep keys safe – placing car and house keys on side tables near your front door makes it easy for thieves to fish them out through the letterbox, so keep these a safe distance away.
- Keyholes covered with tape – burglars have been placing tape over door locks to see if the house is occupied in a recent spate of robberies in Ireland, so remain vigilant and check your locks for any tampering
- Keeping up appearances – making sure windows are not broken and all access points are sealed can increase security, plus storing any loose tools or ladders out of sight of opportunist thieves. If you’re away at all this winter then ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your home, for example ensuring all post is pushed through your letterbox fully.
- Light timers – using a timer that triggers a light when you’re out will allow it to look like someone’s at home even if the house is empty, discouraging burglars
- Replace the locks – old locks may mean previous homeowners still have your keys. Replacing them can add an extra layer of security to the house, while updating older models with modern ones can strengthen security at the same time.
Tom Flack, Editor-in-Chief at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “As the nights draw in, it’s important to protect your home from theft, as research reveals that over half of burglaries take place during the evening or night.
“Claiming on your home insurance if someone breaks in without forcing entry may be difficult, especially if there is no evidence of a crime being committed. This is known as the duty of care and, to ensure you’re paid out in full, always check windows and doors are locked before you go out, whether you’re just popping to the shops or leaving for an entire evening.
“Always be vigilant and check that your home and contents insurance is up to date. When it’s time to renew, it’s important to shop around, as in the event that you’re burgled, you’ll want to be covered by the best policy for the items that matter most.”
For more information on how the British public treat burglaries, find the full study on the MoneySuperMarket website.