With the pressures of modern life, home security is often overlooked. However, it’s estimated that a burglary happens every 40 seconds in the UK, with 40% occurring when a house is empty. National Home Security Month (NHSM), which officially takes part in October every year, aims to raise awareness of the importance of home security and offer tips and advice to help protect the nation’s homes, families and possessions.
For example, did you know that the Halloween and Bonfire Night period is statistically the worst time of year for burglaries with domestic damage also skyrocketing by 160%?! Car crime also increases by 20% on both Halloween and Bonfire Night. In addition, research shows that when the clocks go back (which they do this Sunday), burglaries increase by 38%.
With this in mind, here is some advice on keeping your home secure:
Burglars are opportunists. They notice areas of weakness such as open windows, poor quality locks and vulnerable outbuildings.
- Ensure external timber doors are secured with a mortice lock and/or nightlatch that meet British Standard BS3621. If you have PVC-u or composite door, consider upgrading the cylinder to a British Standard, TS007 Kitemarked model.
- All windows, upstairs and down, should be fitted with at least one appropriate key-operated lock.
- The most commonly stolen items in domestic burglaries are electrical devices, jewellery and cash. Keep these protected in a home safe that it securely bolted to the floor
- Don’t make the perimeter around your property easy to access. Secure gates with a heavy-duty. Weatherproof padlock, trim hedges for improved visibility and make sure fences are in good repair.
- As the nights draw in, don’t leave ladders, tools or garden furniture lying around outside. Lock them away with a heavy-duty weatherproof padlock. For extra security, use anchor locks and cables for individual items.
- Security lighting not only increases visibility, but also acts as a deterrent for potential thieves.
- Mark your property with your postcode and house number and register items for free with Immobilise, the UK’s National Property Register. This makes it easier for police to return stolen items.
- As Halloween and Bonfire Night approach, ensure you lock your doors and windows when going out for the evening. A startling 20% of us admit to leaving our front doors unlocked when we go out!
- To prevent any unsolicited “tricks”, invest in a letterplate restrictor to fit on your letterbox.
- If you don’t want to be disturbed over the Halloween period, display a “No Trick or Treaters” sign on your front door (available front most local police forces).
- Remember – don’t share your plans on social media until after the event. You don’t want to let potential thieves know when your home will be left empty and vulnerable.
By installing simple security measures, you can also help reduce your home insurance premiums. For further information and to discuss home security with one of our local insurance experts, contact your local A-Plan branch.