Someone’s home is burgled every 37 seconds in the UK and many people are the victim of a burglary multiple times in their lifetime, or even more than once in the same year. Whilst having your home broken into is never your fault, there are many common mistakes that people make that practically scream “steal from me!”
Here are the top 5 home security mistakes that will increase your chances of being burgled – are you making any of them?
1. Hiding a Spare Key Outside Your House
It’s common knowledge that many people keep a spare key near their front door in case they lock themselves out. Unfortunately, burglars know it too. Whether it’s under the door mat, in a plant pot, inside a fake rock or on top of the door frame, believe me when I tell you that they are going to find it.
So rather than trying to be creative with your hiding spot, hand over a spare key to a trusted neighbour instead, or make an extra effort to remember your keys when you leave the house!
2. Not Displaying That Ugly Alarm Sign
When you buy a new intruder alarm kit it will usually come with a sign saying something like ‘this home is burglar alarmed’. Yes, it’s ugly. Yes, it ruins the cottage chic look you were trying to go for when you pop it in the window. But yes, it does reduce burglaries.
Remember that an alarm is only a backup, to alert you to an intruder once they’ve already broken in (and by which time they’ve probably already nabbed a few valuables you had lying around and disappeared) so display a warning sign prominently to make them think twice about trespassing in the first place. Even if you can’t afford a burglar alarm, you can still buy the sign!
3. Drawing the Curtains
When you’re off on holiday, you may be tempted to draw all of your curtains closed to prevent would-be burglars snooping at your precious valuables inside. However, seasoned criminals will be trawling the streets looking for houses that show no signs of life, and yours will shoot to the top of their target list.
Instead, avoid any break in routine and position your curtains as you normally would. Of course, don’t go leaving your new iPad out in full view either – tidy possessions away before you leave, and it’s a good idea to invest in a net curtain too which many people use even during the day and which will obscure vision into your rooms from a distance.
4. Tweeting About Your Holidays Plans
Everyone likes to show off about what a great time they’re having on holiday, posting pictures from the beach in Barcelona on Facebook or tweeting about how exited they are to be flying to Paris in the morning. The trouble is, it may be more than just your friends who are reading this.
To ensure that you aren’t broadcasting to the world that your home is going to be vacant for a number of days, ensure that your social networks are set to private so that only your friends can see your updates. In fact, around 50% of robberies are carried out by people the victim knows so it may be time to give your friends list a spring clean too…
5. Keeping Your Valuables in Obvious Places
The majority of burglars will head straight to the master bedroom which is where expensive items such as jewellery, mobiles, iPads and MP3 players are typically kept. Rooms such as the kitchen are usually the last to be visited – or indeed not touched at all if the burglar is in a rush – because there are many hiding places to look through and not usually anything more interesting than some nice crockery to run away with.
It might not be convenient to store your Xbox in your kitchen cupboard or to take your TV off the wall and pop it under the sink when not in use, but the kitchen is the perfect storage place for small valuables such as cash, jewellery and small electronics. Pop them in empty cereal boxes or an opaque plastic tub labelled ‘cookies’ – you’ll be very unlucky indeed to have them stolen by a burglar who stopped mid-break in for a bite to eat!
So, there you have it – the 5 most common home security mistakes that almost guarantee you will get burgled. For peace of mind, avoid these mistakes, invest in a good intruder alarm or home CCTV kit and don’t forget to insure your belongings just in case.
Do you know any more common mistakes when it comes to home security?
Iain Jenkins writes for Fly on the Wall, one of the leading online retailers of spy cameras such as a tissue box camera. Their covert cameras allows you to keep a watchful eye on your possessions when you’re away from home, whilst a hidden camera DVR allows you to capture high quality footage of unsuspecting burglars to hand to the police.