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Stay Safe in Autumn

3rd November 2019

The “aren’t the evenings drawing in?” greetings seem to come around quicker each year, and here we are again, with the clocks having gone back last weekend. If you forgot to do that, well you’ve probably had a confusing week. Nevertheless, this time of year is good news for those of you who enjoy the whole Halloween/Bonfire Night thing, as well as for those who can sense the C word on the horizon. (no not that one, this is a family blog). Or should it even be the E word, what with an election now inserting itself inconveniently between now and Christmas. 

This time of year is historically a bad news period for home security. Insurance claims for fire and theft more than double on Bonfire night, and rise by nearly 50% at Halloween. With the longer nights, especially after the clocks go back, it’s a bonanza time of year for burglars, and these statistics have been backed up by my travels over the last few weeks, with a spate of burglaries in our region. Each burglary is not just a statistic, but a massive emotional punch to the gut to the victims, not forgetting the practical side of the clean up afterwards. To try and avoid this happening, here are a few everyday steps you can take to try and keep your property safe in these Autumn months. 

Firstly, remember that many burglaries are opportunistic. An unlocked door, an open window, keys on display.. these are all like catnip to burglars of the cat and non-cat variety. If you’re going out to a bonfire display, or taking the kids to a Halloween party, make sure the door is locked and all windows are secure. This still applies even if the bonfire is in your own garden – many is the burglary that takes place whilst the occupants are out in the back garden and have left the front door unlocked. With the excitement, noise and darkness, it’s a simple matter for a burglar to slip in and out in a matter of minutes without being noticed. 

As touched on above, burglars love a bit of darkness, and I don’t mean the Justin Hawkins-helmed, shaggy-haired Lowestoft rockers that briefly troubled the charts in the early 2000s. Although maybe they like them too, I can’t speak for the musical tastes of the burgling fraternity. But to counteract the darkness (with a small d) love, householders can install an exterior security light. This is likely to put off all but the most determined burglars, especially if the house is in a residential area or near to a road. Burglars don’t like to be noticed, so a 100-watt light suddenly shining on them as they’re trying to break in is always effective, drawing attention to their activities. Motion activated outside lights can be picked up quite cheaply in your local DIY store, and are an investment worth making to keep property safe. 

Whilst you’re picking up your outside light, why not grab a burglar alarm whilst you’re at it? Even a dummy alarm box on the front of your house can do the job at deterring potential thieves. Though obviously a genuine, fully serviced model would be even better if you can stretch to that. 

On these cold autumn nights, you’re unlikely to see a burglar wandering the streets with a ladder and bag of tools. For one, they’re cumbersome, and secondly, it kind of arouses suspicion. Burglars like to travel light, with few incriminating items on their person should they get stopped by the police. As such, they prefer to make use of ladders and tools at the premises they’re targeting. Therefore, ensure ladders are taken down and put away, and the same goes for tools. Locking them in a secure garage or shed means that burglars do not have easy access to the equipment they need to break in. 

Remember too, when it’s getting dark earlier and you have lights on, the interior of your house becomes very visible from outside.  If you’re not one of those people who closes their curtains or blinds as soon as dusk falls, then do be careful about what you leave on display to passers-by. Laptops, mobile phones and music players are all easily portable, and prized by burglars as can be easily sold on. Keep these items away from being on direct display to remove this temptation. As I’ve mentioned laptops and phones, do ensure these items are password protected so that if the worst happens and they do get taken, your personal data stored on them remains secure. 

If you’re out at a fireworks display or Halloween do, I’d also encourage you not to post on social media about it until you’re back home. Then you can upload photos to your heart’s content. However, doing it whilst you’re at an event does advertise the fact that you’re not at home, and as we know that burglars use social media as a tool to discover when householders are away on holiday  it’s not a big leap to suggest they may also use it to see when you’re out of the house for a shorter period of time at such an event. 

Here’s hoping that the only unwanted visitors this season will be the trick or treaters and political candidates, and not anyone with more nefarious intentions. Let’s keep all the scares at a purely superficial level. If you can avoid the news that is. For advice on anything lock-related, or to enquire about repairs or replacements in Rotherham, call Stephen on 07990573857 for a swift response.

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