Residential burglary rates soar over the winter months
IT’S THAT TIME of year again when Christmas is just around the corner. For many of us, that means travelling away from home and spending time with family and friends, and perhaps going on a holiday. However, it’s important to remember that burglars also take advantage of the festive season. Every November, December and January, residential burglary rates soar compared to the rest of the year. In London the burglary rate rises 26% on average during the festive season. But research reveals some shocking home security habits.
According to a new independent study, only three-fifths of people leaving their home check all doors (61%) and windows (58%) are locked before they go away, while just two in five (43%) make sure sheds and garages are secured. Fewer than half (48%) ensure valuables aren’t visible through windows, and just a fifth (19%) put away garden furniture – acts which can help to prevent opportunistic thefts. More surprising still, one in ten (9%) puts a key under a doormat or plant pot to allow neighbours to check on their properties while away.
This is in spite of the fact that 14% of people surveyed said someone had burgled their home in the past, while an additional 11% had experienced an attempted burglary. Two-fifths (40%) of people ask family members to check on their homes while they are away and 14% actually ask someone to house-sit.
SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY
More than a quarter (27%) leave lights on a timer to suggest someone is inside and one in eight (12%) ask a neighbour to park on the driveway. Most people appear to be savvy about using social media before and during their holidays. Only 5% share their holiday plans on social media before going and 6% share holiday snaps or plans while away.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR HOME WHILE YOUR ARE AWAY
Don’t forget to lock up: Research finds two-fifths of people don’t check that all their doors or windows are locked before they go on holiday.
Don’t advertise your holiday on social media: Before you travel and while you’re away, be mindful that countdown trackers and holiday snaps will let others know you’re not at home. Leave a key with a trusted neighbour, friend or family member – don’t it leave under a plant pot or doormat where anyone could find it – and ask your trusted person to check for other internal issues such as water leaks, as well as signs of unwanted guests.
Make your home seem occupied while away: Use timers to switch on lamps and radios to give the impression of someone being at home.
Ask a neighbour to park on your driveway: Again, this suggests that someone is living at the property. Consider investing in a burglar alarm and security lighting: Both are practical ways to protect your home and do act as a deterrent to burglars. Lock ladders and tools away: Some burglars will have their own tool-kits, but others are more opportunistic, so make sure sheds and outbuildings are locked.
Keep your valuables out of sight: Where possible, keep valuables away from windows. Similarly, don’t store valuables in the bedroom. Thieves know that’s where most people keep their precious items, so hide them in different locations around your home.
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Source data:  https://www.nimblefins.co.uk/ best-cheap-uk-home-insurance/ which-london-boroughs-largestsurge-home-burglaries-christmas  Data relates to a survey of 2,001 UK adults, carried out by Censuswide on behalf of Aviva in June 2022.