Households are being advised to be cautious this summer with burglars more likely to strike as more people head back to work.
While many have been spending more time at home in lockdown, burglaries have been significantly reduced – but this could all change as restrictions ease, experts warn.
Normally, the biggest number of burglaries are in the run up to Christmas when the nights are darker, however, this year has thrown up a lot of change, including when thieves might attack, according to More Than insurance.
In other words, there are plenty of professional thieves out there ready to make up for lost time in the coming months.
Experts are warning there could be an increase in burglaries this summer as lockdown eases
There are simple steps homes can take to ensure they are as protected as possible against intruders and ensure they keep their belongings safe.
Andrew Moore, home claims director at More Than, said: ‘As more people now go out to meet friends and go to work, burglaries may start up again.
‘People should take practical common sense measures, insuring that their house and any outbuildings are secured and locked.’
This is Money, with the help of More Than insurance, has detailed what you can do to try and protect your household.
Most of it is common sense, but it’s handy to have a reminder given the amount of time many have spent in lockdown and may have perhaps let good home security habits slip.
1. Insurance: Households should have adequate home and contents insurance as this should cover your belongings should your home be broken into and items are stolen.
Each policy will differ depending on how much you need to cover in the home.
Depending on the individual insurance policy, it will also suggest what locks you need to use which will help keep your home more secure.
If you have specialist items – such as pricey jewellery, heirlooms or bicycles, for example – you may need to bolt these on separately, with up-to-date valuations to ensure full protection.
Policies can start from as little as £6 a month for one bedroom flats.
The average UK household owns £35,000 of items with the average combined home and contents insurance policy costing £161.75 a year, according to the AA British Insurance Premium Index.
That is equivalent to £13.48 a month – a relatively small expense.
Those who have home and contents insurance should make sure they don’t just let their policy auto-renew as it is likely it could go up in cost.
By challenging your insurer and comparing prices with other providers, you are likely to get a better deal.
If you change policy to another provider, ensure that it offers the same protection as before and is updated to any changes you may have made in the last year.
Households should be aware as thieves could target garden furniture that is left out overnight
2. Locks: Households should always make sure they have locks that are sufficient for their needs – this includes on front doors, back doors, windows, conservatory doors and garages.
It also includes on outbuildings, such as sheds.
There are many types of locking systems and your insurer may recommend ones it thinks are appropriate for your living situation.
One of the main security problems, according to Master Locksmith Association experts, is not having the correct lock fitted to a front door.
Many end up with cheap replica locks of well known brands which, unfortunately, do not stand up to the test and are unable to prevent intruders from entering.
For people to have peace of mind, it is advised that they splash out on recommended locks and bolts, for example, Yale and Chubb locks are known for being sturdy and secure.
The MLA also advised that locks should be suitably tested and approved to confirm they comply with PAS 24, Secure by Design and ADQ or may carry the BSI Kitemark and they should be locked properly by following the manufacturers instructions.
For those living in flats, they should still ensure they keep the main access door locked at all times as people can still can get in through this if it is not secured properly.
Tenants are also advised to be just as vigilant for their internal and external doors.
Renters should ensure they ask their landlord for any security systems they think they might need, for example, an alarm or better locks on your door.
All households should remember to use window locks, lock garages and lock sheds. Even if you’re not going far, make sure to lock up.
3. Keep things out of sight: Don’t put valuables or keys where people can see through a window and don’t leave things where people can reach them.
While this might seem obvious, burglars have been known to reach through letterboxes and hook out keys that have been left on the side table.
It is important to keep your keys and other valuables out of sight and out of reach. Buying a key box could help this – one that can help block signals for car keys is also recommended, given the uptick in this type of theft.
Smart doorbells, made popular by Ring, are one of the newer security systems homes have
4. Technology: Having good security is important to keeping a home safe.
This includes burglar alarms and security cameras outside the household.
Make sure all security systems are still active as while the look of them could be a deterrent, this is not guaranteed.
As we have been in lockdown since March, some systems may have stopped working and as such the security system in place may not be sufficient.
Smart security is a growing sector with households turning to enhanced technology to keep their home safe.
Such popular items include smart doorbells, which were popularised by Ring, which come with a camera attached letting users see who is at their door before they answer it.
Similarly, smart doorlocks are also growing in popularity, as it allows owners to lock and unlock their front door remotely.
Other devices include smart thermostats, smart lightbulbs and smart alarms. Those with these devices should contact their insurer, is it may help reduce premiums.
5. Keep gardens safe: Some thieves will target homes for their garden furniture or outhouses such as sheds.
There are often blind spots in the garden which allow opportunist thieves to enter and exit your property unseen and hide out while they plan their next move.
Cut back any overgrown bushes which could act as a hiding place and trim overhanging trees which leave large shaded areas you can’t see from inside.
To give your property an extra layer of security, consider adding thorny plants or bushes around the edges of your garden.
Alternatively, adding spikes to the top of fences or gates will stop intruders attempting to climb them.