Discovering that you’ve become a victim of burglary is hugely upsetting. Many people often just put this down to bad luck and perhaps increase their home’s security as a result. However, there may be more to a burglar’s choice of target than you may think.
To understand why a criminal might target your home, you have to think like a criminal. What would make their job easier? What clues does your property give as to the contents inside? Will their illegal activities be well concealed?
We’ve made a list of some things that burglars tend to look out for. If you’re aware of what makes you an easy target, hopefully you can help avoid a nasty surprise.
What burglars look for
1. Open invitation
Obvious one, but any open windows – particularly at ground level, could encourage an opportunist break-in. You may think that high windows are safe to leave ajar, but don’t underestimate the commitment of the criminal. It’s possible that a flat roof, tree, porch or ledge could be used to gain entry at high access points. If leaving the property, always lock up before you leave. Check out the Met Police’s lock before you leave campaign.
2. Perfect hiding place
Burglars don’t want to be spotted by conscientious neighbours; which is why heavy, overgrown foliage around your home can be the perfect hiding place. Overgrown bushes can act as the perfect concealment for dodgy deeds. Trim back those hedges and invest in a motion sensor security light to help prevent anyone lurking in the shadows.
3. Your activity
Always give the impression that your home is occupied. Thieves can sometimes monitor properties in order to strike when a home is empty. If you’re out of town, ensure your lights are on timers, that someone draws your curtains and a car is parked in the driveway if possible. Ask a neighbour to check in on the property and remember to cancel any regular deliveries.
4. No trouble
Make your home look unappealing to the would-be burglar. Invest in a very visible burglar alarm and security lighting along with good quality window and door locks. If a burglar spots good security measures, they’re less likely to bother. Not only are they good protection but they could also help reduce the cost of your home insurance.
Don’t leave any clues to the treasures inside your home. For example, if you buy a new expensive item – like a laptop, don’t leave the empty packaging in your recycling for all to see. It could be very tempting for a burglar to discover that a new, expensive item is waiting in your home. Equally, don’t leave valuable items or cash in full view of windows and doors.
6. Easy pickings
Don’t assume that your bike is safe just because it’s in your shed or garage. A recent crime survey has reported that well over two thirds of all bicycles reported stolen (68%) are taken from people’s homes. Sheds and garages often have minimal security and are usually easy pickings – so make sure you also lock your bike to an immovable object when kept in an outbuilding.
There are unfortunately around 533,000 bikes stolen in the UK every year – and there are some particular bike theft hotspots to be aware of.
Finally, even though you can help reduce the risk of burglary, there’s no guarantee you’ll never fall victim to the thieves. Make sure you have adequate contents insurance in place to help financially protect your possessions should they ever be stolen.
Remember to provide accurate, up-to-date information to your insurer about the security on your property. Any incorrect details (for example, about your locks or alarm) could result in a rejected claim.
If your home is your haven, you’ll want it to have the best protection. Compare quotes from our range of handpicked insurers and tailor a policy to suit you. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit www.policyexpert.co.uk/contact for more ways to reach us.
Published 3 October 2011