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What burglars look for!

25th August 2016

Well, hello there. You may notice this month’s blog is slightly later than usual. Any connection between this, and the fact that the Olympics has been constantly on the TV for the last 2 weeks is purely coincidental, believe me.  Although wasn’t it great to have the sound of Breaking News notifications on your phone and find it signalled more British sporting success and not the latest death / resignation / terrorist atrocity, as sadly so often seems to be the case?

Anyway, now it’s back to reality, so today I thought I’d pen a refresher on the mistakes that people so often make with their home security, leaving their homes and property at greater risk from the threat of burglary and theft. I’ll use as the basis of this a survey carried out by Crimewatch and the BBC which found the things that burglars find most appealing about a property, and I’ll expand on a few of these.

A spare key laying around

The biggest mistake that makes a burglar think Christmas has well and truly come early is the presence of a spare key. There they are, all ready to tackle fiendish locks, perhaps risk attracting attention by smashing a window or breaking a door, and suddenly their job becomes ridiculously easy the second they find a spare key and simply let themselves into your property with your key. It’s almost TOO easy and rather takes the challenge out of the break-in, but I’m sure they won’t mind that. A massive proportion of burglaries are carried out in this fashion without the need for any break-in. 

Over a third of householders leave a spare key around their property, whether this be under a bin, plant pot, a rockery stone, or even under the doormat itself. Burglars know this, believe me! And then as well as helping themselves to the contents of your property, they then also have a spare key to your home meaning that as well as dealing with the fallout from the burglary, you’ll also have to get your locks changed to prevent a return visit. If you must have a spare key about, leave it with a friend or neighbour, or use a key safe with a PIN combination lock but I must mention that key safe has to be out of sight. Otherwise the burglar will enter your house with more ease than Usain Bolt showed in winning the 100 metres. (sorry, had to get an Olympic reference in there). 

Valuable items in view

We know burglars like a nice easy life, and want to be in and out of your property as quick as...well...Usain Bolt in the 100 metres (I’ll stop soon, sorry). Consequently they don’t really want to be bothering with huge flat screen TVs and the like, and this is why you rarely hear of washing machines or fridges being stolen – they’re not the most portable of items. Rather, your burglar will look for small but valuable items such as phones, tablets, laptops, jewellery, spare cash, car keys etc. So don’t leave these on display! Keeping them stored safely away when you’re not in will make the burglar’s job a lot more difficult. Jewellery and spare cash can be kept in a bolted down safe, and other items should not be made too conspicuous. If the burglar is going to make off with your goods, at least make it a marathon and not a sprint for them. (okay, there’s no hope for me) 

Easy access

Your property itself can also be an aid to a burglar. Although people think high bushes or fences are a deterrent, in reality they can actually provide shelter to the burglar, hiding them from any passers-by or neighbours. Keep hedges trimmed and perhaps think about installing security lights if none are currently fitted. Don’t give the burglar the advantage of hiding in the shadows. If you are fitting fences / gates, think about installing steel bar ones that can still be seen through. Also keep tools hidden away – a ladder, wrench or hammer can be a real boon for any potential burglar. The message remains the same – don’t make the burglar’s job as easy as..  no, no more Olympic references. 

Hopefully, these pointers will have given you food for thought as we move into late summer. In the meantime I’m going to try to wean myself off the Olympics by fashioning myself a medal out of a piece of string and a digestive biscuit. That will tide me over until Tokyo 2020, I’m sure. Until next month

Citius, Altius, Fortius!

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