Barnsley Home Security After Lockdown Ends
Well, say it quietly but it looks as if we might be getting there. The latest relaxation of the lockdown measures has taken place, and we can all now meet outside to play golf, as long as we’re having a picnic and there are no more than six of us, because that’s how many Viennese Whirls are in a box. I think that’s it anyway, I was distracted by the ship stuck in the Suez canal to be honest.
The easing, and then hopefully ending, of lockdown is obviously a great step forward, and one we’ve been looking forward to for what seems like decades now. However, as with all these things, there is a caveat. I’m not about to go all Chris Whitty or Jonathan Van Tam about social distancing, as that’s not really my specialty. Rather, the warning is about the impact on the security of your home.
A recent analysis by a home insurance company showed a 20 per cent decrease in burglaries in 2020 compared to 2019, which reduced criminals’ takings by over £100 million over the year. This worked out as an individual loss of around £13,000 for each burglar.
Now as a Barnsley Locksmith we’re not in the business of feeling sorry for burglars round these parts, and I’m certainly not going to start now as there are millions of people far more deserving of sympathy during lockdown. The worry is that, with the roll out of the vaccine, the lockdown easing, and people venturing out of their homes with greater frequency and for longer periods, there will be a resurgence in burglaries as these thieves try to make up for lost time.
When workers start returning to offices, or even, whisper it quietly, going away on holiday, homes could be left empty for the first time in over 12 months, and burglars will unfortunately be there to take advantage. As such, I thought this would be a good time to go over a refresher on how we can make sure our homes are as secure as possible, and perhaps give you a couple of jobs to do over the Easter weekend – no need to thank me!
Firstly, and a proper Bank Holiday job, is to sort the boundaries. Hedges and plants can be useful as barriers, but if you have a front hedge, make sure it’s not too overgrown, as this will give burglars a hiding place so they can’t be seen from the road. Also look at any gates, installing locks if they aren’t already in place. When you’ve finished work on a long, sunny, bank holiday or weekend, do take time to shut away tools or machinery so that you don’t leave temptation open to any passing burglars.
Moving onto the house, and burglars are on the lookout for poor-quality locks. Lock snapping is still a massive problem, used by burglars to break into the cylinder locks on almost all UPVC doors, as well as on many other kinds of doors. Lock snapping takes less than ten seconds and very few tools, so making sure additional locks, or more secure “anti snap” locks are fitted really is a must. This goes for the front door, but don’t neglect any other external doors – they should be fitted with the same level of security.
Still on locks, and don’t forget windows, especially those at accessible height or on a flat roof, as these are a favourite target or burglars. Complacency can be a problem too – just “popping out for ten minutes” and leaving windows or doors unlocked can be a recipe for disaster, so please do always check the house is secure when you leave it. Don’t store any keys under the doormat either – it’s not as safe a place as you might think!
If you’ve recently moved into a new house, one of the first things you should do is change the locks – you never know who might have a copy of the old ones and it is far better to be safe than sorry. It’ll also give you much greater peace of mind to have new, secure locks in place. As a Barnsley locksmith I can offer a great deal on home mover lock packages.
More of a financial outlay would be a burglar alarm, but it’s a very wise investment, and can be a real deterrent. Make sure it is serviced and tested regularly – burglars can tell where there is a dummy box or a decommissioned alarm, but if it’s a real, working one, they are likely to move on to an easier target. The same goes for CCTV – the deterrent factor is high, as no one wants to be caught on camera doing something they shouldn’t! If you don’t want to go for a full CCTV system, video doorbells are now getting even more sophisticated and can be viewed via your smart phone, wherever you are.
A practical step that won’t cost you anything is to keep valuables out of sight. However, this is a double-edged sword as I’d also advise you not to keep curtains or blinds closed during the day as this may look as if you have something inside you want to hide. Leave these open, but don’t leave anything valuable in plain sight, and certainly don’t leave car keys close to the front door, as burglars will often just hook these through the letter box, or smash a window, grab them, and be off with your car within seconds.
Two final cost-free steps to take are to a) try and give the impression that someone is home (avoid routines, use a timer for lights etc) and b) if you do manage to get away for a holiday to refrain from posting about it on social media. This might make me seem like a bit of a killjoy, especially given holidays have been impossible recently, but advertising your absence on social media is never a good idea. The savvy burglar trawling Facebook or Instagram will soon pick up on it.
As we emerge, hopefully for the last time, from this lockdown, we will all need to make adjustments to get back to a semblance of normality. Don’t make this even tougher by leaving yourself vulnerable to a break-in – the experts are all saying we’ll be due an increase in burglaries in the coming months, so please do all you can to make sure you’re not one of those affected.
For any assistance with Barnsley locksmith or security issues, call me 07990573857