How to beat the burglars ahead of Bonfire Night
Bonfire Night and, to a lesser extent, Halloween are prime nights for burglars to strike as people leave their homes to attend events and parties.
According to Aviva, fire and theft home claims soared by up to 160 per cent during the festivities last year, so it is urging people to take extra care to protect their homes as the double-whammy of seasonal celebrations looms.
The research also found that 40 per cent of UK residents don’t check whether windows are locked before they leave the house and 29 per cent don’t check their doors.
Adam Beckett, general insurance product director for Aviva UK, said: “This is a brilliant time of year for celebrations, but as the clocks go back and the nights get longer, it’s also a fantastic opportunity for burglars. The calendar is packed with social events, meaning homes are often left empty as people celebrate, while the cover of darkness gives thieves an added advantage. Sadly our claims data bears this out as we see more burglaries during this season.
“Prevention is better than the cure and there are a number of simple steps people can take to protect their homes when they’re out enjoying the festivities. By thinking ahead and staying vigilant, people can beat the bad ‘guy’ and leave their homes without feeling ‘spooked’.”
How to keep your home safe and secure
- Lock up your property: Burglars are opportunists and look for easy access, such as an open door or window. Thefts can take just a few seconds and can even happen while you’re in your home, so keep doors and windows shut and locked wherever possible.
- Make your home seem occupied: Use timers or leave lights on if you’re out and aren’t going to get back before dark. It’s also a good idea to leave a radio on to give the impression that someone is home.
- Install a visible burglar alarm and outside lighting: Alarms – or even dummy alarms – can be a strong deterrent. Good lighting, particularly motion-detector lights, can make it difficult for burglars to hide while they try to break in.
- Don’t let thieves go fishing: Never leave anything valuable near doors, the letterbox or a window, as thieves can use coat hangers and fishing rods to hook them. Don’t label your house keys either.
- Keep ladders and tools locked away: Most professional thieves don’t carry tools with them – they use yours.
- Keep your valuables out of sight and away from windows: Consoles, games and DVDs are often high on the list of criminals’ must-haves. Other favourites include cameras, computers, mobile phones, and jewellery.
- Password-protect your electronic devices and keep your cyber security systems up-to-date. Back up everything up in a cloud, and don’t write your passwords down where they can be easily found.
- Don’t store valuables in the bedroom: Thieves know that’s where most people keep their precious items. Stash them away in different spots around the home.
- Security mark your property: You can buy kits to mark or etch your belongings. Using your postcode with your house or flat number, or the first three letters of the name of your home, will increase the chance of your property being returned to you.