Tips to keep your home safe from burglars

The first national lockdown failed to prevent two-thirds of burglaries: Top tips to keep your house safe as restrictions ease

  • EXCLUSIVE: Two-thirds of residential burglaries still took place in lockdown 
  • The stay at home order clearly did not deter many thieves 
  • Overall, the average cost of stolen goods cost households £2,856 each  

Two-thirds of residential burglaries still took place in the first national lockdown in 2020, despite people being ordered to stay at home 

Despite households spending significantly more time at home, this did not deterred burglars as much as might be expected with burglaries only reducing by a third compared to the same period in 2019, according to data from Compare the Market. 

The average cost of stolen goods in home burglaries reached £2,856, the comparison site’s analysis of Office of National Statistics information shows.

There are now fears that even more burglaries will be committed this year as restrictions ease again. 

Two-thirds of residential burglaries still took place in the first national lockdown in 2020

Two-thirds of residential burglaries still took place in the first national lockdown in 2020

While homes were occupied for more of the time, it is likely a portion of the burglaries occurred in second homes or holiday lets that were left unoccupied for a length of time. 

The research also found 69 per cent of car thefts and 76 per cent of bicycle thefts also still occurred when compared to the previous year.

When it comes to home security and preventative measures, only 25 per cent of UK households have a burglar alarm fitted in their home, while 18 per cent do not have any window locks fitted.

Typically, 35 per cent of households look to insure items worth £1,500 or more as part of their home insurance policy.

Chris King, head of home insurance, at Compare the Market said: ‘At a time when many of us are cooped up – it’s reasonable to assume that lockdown would significantly reduce the likelihood of being burgled.

‘However, the unfortunate reality is that the threat of burglary remains real in lockdown. These crimes are highly opportunistic, with independent data showing that even before lockdown, 60 per cent of burglaries took place when someone was at home.

‘Fortunately, there are some preventative steps that people can take. Alarms, security cameras and window locks can be installed. Even when at home, individuals should secure unoccupied rooms by closing windows and ensuring valuables are not on show to anyone walking by.’ 

Customers who do not have a home contents insurance policy costs are encouraged to purchase one, as the average cover costs just £68 a year and could give you the peace of mind that you are protected if the worst happens.

35% of homes look to insure items worth £1,500 or more as part of their home insurance policy

35% of homes look to insure items worth £1,500 or more as part of their home insurance policy

How you can protect your home

This is Money and Compare the Market have compiled a list of top tips to help you secure your home.

These will be especially important as more people leave the house to travel to work or for leisure purposes.  

1) Invest in a safe: The items most likely to be stolen in a burglary are wallets, purses, cash and cards are all things that fit in a safe. A safe could be a good investment, and far more secure than hiding possessions in predictable places like drawers.

2) Improve door and window locks: Make sure you have secure locks and consider which type of lock would be the best for your home. Consider adding hinge bolts to protect that side of the door from force too. 

Contact the Master Locksmith Association for advice and be sure to let your insurance provider know if you do decide to change your locks.

3) Secure sheds and garages: Think about what you have stored in your garage and ensure you’ve secured it properly. Items such as garden tools can be attractive to thieves – plus the Metropolitan Police warn that thieves will often go to your shed first to find tools to break into your home.

4) Install security cameras: If you want to add an extra level of security to your home, security cameras are a great way of monitoring activity, alerting you to any suspicious goings-on and even pre-empting break-ins.

5) Join a neighbourhood watch: Create or join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme with your neighbours. Around 2.3million households across the UK are already involved. Take turns to keep an eye on each other’s properties while on holiday. 

Visit the Neighbourhood Watch Association to find a local scheme or for advice on setting up your own. Joining a scheme can not only help keep your home safe – it may reduce the cost of your home insurance.

6) Install a home alarm: Invest in a security system. Unmonitored alarms act as an alert rather than being connected to call centres. 

They react when tripped and can alert people in the local area of suspicious activity – which is especially useful if you’re in a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

7) Install outside lights: Consider adding some security lights outside for when it gets dark in the evenings or early mornings. Movement-sensitive lights will help deter thieves but won’t disturb neighbours unduly. 

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