Summer’s here and as August turns to September it’s the perfect time to jet away to the Mediterranean, Europe or America for a holiday and return in time to pack the kids off to school.
But who is keeping their eye on your home while you’re away?
If it’s your neighbours, that’s fine. Neighbourhood Watch schemes are a great way for a community to look out for one another, working together to make our towns and cities safer places.
However, if it’s not the nice neighbours but the bad, that’s not such good news.
Burglars have been found to typically stay within a few miles of their own homes, and typically strike during the hours of daylight.
The reasons for these habits among housebreakers are logical when you think about it. While the expression has it “a fox doesn’t make a mess on its own doorstep” a burglar will. It’s not that they lack the common sense not to steal from their neighbours because they might be seen using the stolen goods. They have no intention of keeping any of their booty anyway. It will be sold for cash or drugs, and at a fraction of what you paid for it.
Burglars stay close to home because that’s where they feel most comfortable. They know the area, they know short-cuts, alleys, and dead-ends. They know the ‘nice’ neighbourhoods and the rough. And it doesn’t take long to get to know the habits of people living on a particular street. They may not know exactly when the Joneses at 36 leave for work, but they’ll know where home security is weak and that after 8.30 it’ll be quiet until the kids start coming home from school. Alternatively they’ll know if there aren’t many kids on that street so there’s a clear run until about 6.
Home Security Beats The Burglar
Burglars are generally opportunists. Career burglars who go out each night to target the houses of the rich are every bit as much a myth as stripy jumpers and bags marked ‘SWAG’! No, a burglar uses his local knowledge to target the homes of his neighbours when he needs extra cash for treats. That local knowledge, combined with a specific need, or just the opportunity if it’s tempting enough, is all he wants in order to pay a visit while you and your neighbours are out of the way.
They strike in daylight because, somewhat counterintuitively, this is the time when they will arouse least suspicion. In daylight they don’t need to turn on the lights when the neighbours know that nobody should be home. They can see what’s going on out on the street, making keeping an eye out simple. And, to top it off, it’s down to our own expectation that night time is when they’re more likely to be active. Simply by arriving to carry out the crime in daylight makes us think that they aren’t going to be burglars when we see something suspicious.
It’s important to think about how you could be making a burglar’s life easier, and take steps to make whoever takes a shine to your home changes their mind and keeps walking when they’re on your street.
Clearly the most important thing is to securely close all your doors and windows when you’re not in. It’s more than a case of simply keeping them shut, if a door or frame shows signs of rot then they can be easily kicked or simply pushed open. Don’t just paint over the problem but fit new frames. Not only will these keep unwanted visitors out, they will often save money on your heating bills too as old, ill fitting doors and windows let drafts in and heat out.
It’s nice to live comfortably, but it’s also a good idea to keep your valuables out of sight of passers-by. If snoopers can easily see that you’ve got tablets, phones, the latest tech and entertainment systems whenever they walk past they’ll remember to keep an eye out for your house the next time they’re in need of cash. There’s no need to be paranoid though, just put things away and don’t have all your most expensive possessions on display.
A Neat Home Is A Secure Home
While you’re keeping indoors tidy, tidy up outside too. To you a dilapidated house just looks shabby and unlikely to contain anything of interest, to a burglar an unkempt home shows that not enough care is taken of the property and it could be easy to get in and out without anybody noticing or raising the alarm.
Keep upstairs windows as firmly secured as those downstairs, especially at the back of the house. You might think it’s impossible for anyone to get in, you might like to have a breeze blowing through the house, or leave one open for the cat to come and go, but if a cat can get in, so can a burglar.
If you have a shed, outhouses, or garage, ensure that they’re securely locked too. And of you have ladders or anything else that could be climbed upon to gain access, lock them securely in place too. Burglars don’t like to carry their tools around with them (‘going equipped’ shows intention and can add years to a sentence), so they use whatever they can find at your address to get in.
Keep Your Eyes And Ears Open, Even When Far Away
Keep your doors, windows and outbuildings covered by home security technology such as Smart CCTV cameras. They can be fitted in next to no time and let you see what’s happening around your house wherever you are in the world so long as you have WiFi or phone signal. The great thing about the latest Smart security cameras, besides their incredible picture quality, even at night, is that you can have a two way conversation with whoever is at your door or peering in your windows. So if it’s just the delivery guy you can ask him to leave your package with a neighbour until you return, or you can tell any ruffians that you’re watching them and that they should clear off!
Home security deterrents such as visible CCTV cameras, intruder alarms with sirens which can be seen from the street, security lights and Smart access control units fitted with cameras and mics have been proven to be remarkably effective in keeping intruders at bay. We’ve all heard of burglar alarms being set off while a family is away and the alarm blaring day and night until a neighbour decides to do something about it. With modern security systems that can’t happen. You control what happens when anyone comes to your house via the app that you will have installed on your phone. If motion sensors are triggered you’ll be able to see what’s happening and react accordingly. But it’s not just down to you to respond either. Burglar alarms can and should be linked to a home security monitoring service where real people will watch to see when your alarm is triggered and depending on the nature of the emergency (as fire alarms, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors can be linked to the system too) contact the appropriate emergency service.