Burglary rates are on the rise. With COVID restrictions relaxed, burglaries in Hampshire increased by 27.85% in Hampshire alone between May and July 2020. With the clocks going back once again, the long nights will only give plenty more cover to burglars and opportunistic thieves looking to gain entry to your home when you’re not around.
However, the good news is that by taking a few simple steps, you can deter or even prevent any unexpected visitors from obtaining access to your property. So without further ado, here are the six best ways to protect your home from intruders.
1. Review Your Window Locks and Add Another Layer of Security
Even into autumn and winter, windows pose one of the biggest security threats to your home. Particularly if you accidentally leave valuables on clear display through them. Thus, not only is it a good idea to have a professional locksmith check over your existing window locks to ensure they are fit for purpose, but it’s a good idea to add an extra layer of protection.
Sash jammers are one such addition. They work by adding a bolt that runs from the main window across the frame, preventing the window from being opened from the outside. They offer protection even if a burglar manages to disable or damage the lock. While you can fit these devices yourself, it’s always worth having them installed by an experienced locksmith.
2. Always Make It Look Like Someone is Home by Renting Out Your Driveway
A relatively new phenomenon allows you to not only earn money while you’re at work or on holiday, but it will also serve as the perfect deterrent.
Burglars famously look to strike when no one is at home to disturb them. Contrary to popular belief, that’s actually during the day, not under cover of darkness. Most burglaries in the UK take place between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm when the majority of homeowners are at work.
With no cars on the drive, the burglar is reasonably safe in their assumption that the home is empty. However, thanks to new services such as JustPark, you can rent out your driveway to commuters and/or tourists looking to secure cheaper parking. Cars on the drive are one of the most significant deterrents for burglars, so why not take advantage of this win-win method for protecting your home?
3. Keep Valuables Out of Sight and Away from the Door
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is leaving valuables within easy reach of would-be criminals. For example, key pots near the front door present an easy target for criminals who can reach them with a home-made “fishing rod”, or use magnets to drag them back toward the letterbox.
Another issue with leaving modern car fobs within easy reach is that thieves can use wireless transmitters held up to the front door or window of a house to extrapolate the signal from a fob and relay it to a target vehicle. An accomplice standing close to the car then captures the signal, fooling the car into unlocking. Once the accomplice is inside the vehicle, the process can be repeated to start the engine.
Thus, keep all valuables including keys and other prized possessions out of sight, and hidden away in case a burglar does breach your defences. Remember, the average burglary lasts just 8 to 12 minutes. If you hide your most valuable items well, they might not be able to find them before they have to leave. This is a vital process if you are away on holiday, since a burglar may return to have another go if they know you aren’t there.
4. Buy a Timer for Your Lights
As mentioned, the best deterrent against an opportunistic thief or a burglar is to give out the impression that somebody is home. One of the cheapest and most effective ways for achieving that impression is using a plug-in timer for your lights and other electronic devices.
This relatively affordable device can turn your lights or other electronic items on automatically at a set time in the evening. The better ones allow for multiple cycles, which helps to give the illusion that somebody is home. You can set different timers to different lights so that the bedroom lights come on at bedtime, and the living room lights come on much earlier, for example.
Setting your radio to a talk station and then programming the timer to turn the radio on at a specific time of the day (such as during the peak times mentioned above) can also be an excellent deterrent. If a burglar sees a house that might be occupied as opposed to one that definitely isn’t, they are always going to choose the latter option as their target.
5. Don’t Advertise Your Stuff or Schedule
While social media is a fantastic tool in many ways, it can have devastating consequences if information falls into the wrong hands. All of those posts about your new TV, games console, and laptop are great to share with family and friends, but to some malicious individuals, they act as their potential Christmas list for the unwelcome visit to your home they are planning.
On a similar note, it’s unwise to advertise that you are going on holiday. A Facebook “check-in” at the airport paired with selfies from the departure lounge might seem like an excellent way for your friends to share in the magic of your summer holidays, but it also sends an unmistakable message – you aren’t at home.
Despite what we think, not all of our Facebook friends have our best interests at heart. This is proven by the fact that 65% of burglars know their victims. Therefore, innocent holiday snaps could be giving the all-clear to burglar acquaintances looking to stake out their next target.
6. Check Your Door Locks Are Up to Scratch
Up to two-thirds of UK break-in entries are through the front or back door. When it comes to brute force, lock snapping is one of the most common methods for gaining access to a property. Last year, this method was involved in just under 10% of all burglaries in the UK.
There are several locks, such as “Euro Cylinder” locks (commonly fitted to uPVC and composite wooden doors) that are susceptible to brute force snapping. When lock snapping, burglars will gain entry by snapping the lock in two, leaving the mechanism exposed and giving them quick access with no specialist skills, tools, or knowledge.
Therefore, you need to ensure that your door locks are fit for purpose. You can make a start by upgrading to a Sold Secure (SS312) Diamond Standard lock, as these cannot be lock snapped. An additional deadbolt is always a good idea to give you an extra layer of protection against other brute force methods such as kicking. The UK Home Office recommends fitting five-lever deadlocks to all external doors (to BS3621 standards).
Protect Your Home from Intruders with the Help of a Professional, Experienced Locksmith
To have your window and door locks upgraded and fitted to the industry standards mentioned above, you’re going to need the services of a qualified and experienced locksmith.
As demonstrated, having robust locks on all entry points to your home is one of the best ways to protect your home from intruders. Therefore, if you’re based in Hampshire, why not enlist the help of a police-background-checked locksmith with £5 million in public liability insurance for total peace of mind?
Call Nick today to book an appointment for reviewing your current lock and security arrangements, and ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep unwelcome visitors at bay this winter.