Imagine coming home after a hard day at work, and as you approach your driveway, you look up and realise that your car has gone.
That terrible sinking feeling fills the pit of your stomach as you walk into your house and notice that everything is out of place.
You go through your things and it quickly becomes apparent that your jewellery, watches, passport, and emergency cash have all disappeared.
That’s a story many home burglary victims in the UK have experienced, and it happens a lot more than you might have thought.
The fact is that a house gets burgled every 3 minutes in the UK.
Burglars prey on those who don’t take security precautions, and if you are one of those people, then the next story we write on this subject might be about you!
That said, we do have some good news for you today, because there are many things you can do to make your home less inviting and more secure when a burglar cases your area.
We have put together 7 prevention tips to help you defend against burglary so that you don’t become one of the 192,060 annual victims of a home burglary in the UK.
1) Good External Lighting & Home Visibility
A good burglar will usually drive or walk around your area looking for potential houses to target.
You’ll need to ensure your home doesn’t appear on a burglar’s radar, and this begins with you examining the exterior of your home.
A burglar’s potential targets include homes with high fences, trees, and hedges, meaning they can carry out their work without being easily seen by neighbours and passersby.
So ensure your hedges are cut low or your fence is not too high and that your home is visible from the street.
The last thing a burglar wants is for a nosy neighbour to get on the phone with the police whilst trying to break in.
As an extra deterrent, place external lights in your driveway that are triggered by a sensor, so that the light will come on and place the burglar firmly in the spotlight for everyone to see.
2) Invest In A Burglar Alarm
Imagine you are a criminal and you have two houses in front of you.
Both homes are the same in terms of gaining entry, but one has a burglar alarm and one doesn’t.
Which one are you going to break into?
You’d be surprised that only 32% of homes in the UK have a burglar alarm installed.
Although a burglar alarm will not stop a criminal from entering your home, it will make the criminal stop and ask themselves if it’s worth the risk.
A burglar’s worst enemy is attention.
A burglar alarm is going to draw attention to the situation which is the exact opposite of what your home invader wants.
3) Lock Your Side & Back Door Gates
If your property contains a back garden gate or a gate on the side of your house, your gate should contain a lock.
Not only should it contain a lock, but you need to ensure that you use it!
Although a good burglar can bypass locks, or simply climb over the gate, the reality is that most burglars will always prefer the easy option.
Most burglaries in the UK take place in less than 5 minutes.
A burglar won’t want to take any more time than necessary as it increases the chances of getting caught.
A locked gate will add to the length of time the burglary will take, and make life harder for the burglar to enter and leave your premises with your goods.
The more time wasted and the more obstacles you can put in place, the more likely that the burglar will abandon the job and move on to another more accessible home.
4) Double Lock Your UPVC Door
If you have a UPVC door, you need to ensure you double lock it.
Any low-grade burglar can tell if the door is double locked, and if you haven’t double locked it, you’ve just made the job of your burglar super easy to carry out.
A UPVC door that hasn’t been double-locked can be opened in less than 30 seconds by a competent burglar.
They’ll either use a screwdriver or they’ll insert a device through your letterbox to pull the door handle down.
The only way that a UPVC door can be double locked is by you doing BOTH of these things and this order.
- Pull up the handle of the door fully
- Lock the door
There’s a worrying number of people in the UK who think that closing the door, and pulling up the handle, means they have double-locked the door.
You must remember that if you don’t also lock the door with the key, then you haven’t double-locked it.
Worse still, by not double locking, you’ve just given the green light to a would-be burglar to come and break in, as a burglar can quickly tell from the outside if your door has been double locked or not.
5) Use A Letterbox Restrictor
Fishermen fish for fish and burglars will fish your letterbox for anything of value.
This could be your house or car keys, or even your mail to steal your personal details to commit fraud in your name.
Some higher-level burglars will carry a simple letterbox tool that allows them to steal these items using your letterbox.
They can insert a thin tool through your letterbox to reach the unlocked handle and push it down to open the door.
More sophisticated tools can be used to slide through and turn the key if the door is locked and the key is inserted.
Other tools are designed to go further than the door lock and pluck keys from a nearby shelf and bring them back out through the letterbox.
The best way to prevent this type of attack is to use a letterbox restrictor.
The restrictor is screwed onto the inside of your door around the letterbox.
It’ll restrict the movement of any tools the burglar is using to fish for your keys or other nearby valuables near the inside of your house.
6) Install Security Cameras
The UK has seen a surge in the use of home security cameras in recent years.
Currently, around 40% of homes have some form of security camera in place.
The type of security cameras in place ranges from expensive full-scale camera systems to simple solutions like smart doorbells.
Having security cameras is one thing, but it’s the placement of those cameras which determines if a burglar will break in.
When casing a property, a burglar might pose as someone who is delivering leaflets through the door.
This allows the burglar to approach your property without drawing attention, but also allows them to establish the position and angles of the cameras.
So when they come back a month or so later to carry out the robbery, they’ll already know if their face is likely to be seen by your camera system.
When you install your security cameras, you’ll need to place them at a height and angle that can give I.D. quality videos and photos so that the police have got something to go on after the event.
Ideally, you need to place external cameras at eye level near doors and windows.
This not only gives the police a chance, but if a burglar has already cased your home beforehand, they’ll be less likely to return and carry out the burglary, as they’ll know they have a good chance of being identified.
For internal cameras, ensure that they are placed to capture as much of the room as possible.
This will help with your insurance claim, as it will be easier to show what was taken from your property. It also helps the police to identify the stolen goods and increases your chances of recovering your stolen items.
7) Use Light Timer Switches
If you can’t be in your home all the time, then you should at least make it look like you are in your home by using light timer switches or other devices to give your home the appearance of life.
A light timer switch is a simple device that will turn on various lights in your property at pre-set times.
We would strongly advise you to alternate the timer so that it does not come on and off at exactly the same time.
The reason for this is that burglars look for patterns, and if they see the light turn on at exactly the same time, they’ll know that a timer and not a person is turning that light on.
There are also other third-party devices such as TV-Light Simulators that can give off the illusion of light in such a way that it appears from the outside that your TV is on.