An Englishman’s home has always been his castle, but with a rising crime rate in burglary and theft, it seems that more and more, we need to pull up that drawbridge and ensure that the castle is safe and secure. Burglary is a crime that does not have to be violent, but can still leave you feeling violated and unsafe in your own home. It can also occur anywhere, from leafy suburbs to busy inner cities, from exclusive apartment blocks to cosy village cottages. No area is safe from the scourge of burglary, and as we are living in tough times, this is unlikely to change anytime soon.
I live in a village. One of the attractions of moving there was the lack of crime in the area. But recently this has shown signs of changing. There have been a spate of burglaries that have occurred at night, when families have been asleep in their homes. Many have concerned the taking of cars, the house has been broken into in order to get the car keys and then the vehicles have been stolen. Many of the crimes have seemed to be more planned than opportunistic, with the burglars believed to have travelled in from surrounding areas. In addition to these worrying crimes, there have also been a spate of outhouses, sheds and work vans that have been broken into, with expensive work tools and bicycles being the target. With a fall in police numbers, many feel that these crimes are not being given the attention they deserve, and so they are happening with more regularity.
If you are planning to buy a house and want to know how safe your new area is in terms of crimes of theft, you can check out the crime statistics of the area using the tool that Verisure have created. Verisure are the number one alarm system in Europe with more than 3 million customers across the continent, including systems for residential properties and businesses that range from small to large. They have a tool on their website which can show you the crime rate for the area by just adding the postcode to the search engine. The statistics are taken from the National Police database and show crimes including burglary, vehicle crime, bicycle theft and shoplifting amongst others. You can see the results from month to month to see if there had been a spike in certain crimes at certain times, and also if a trend is gaining in momentum.
What Can You Do?
Clearly you have to take some responsibility for your home security, it is no good sticking you head in the sand and saying burglaries are something that happens to someone else. This is clearly not the case. But there are things you can do to make it more difficult for the burglars, and hopefully get them to think twice before they try to get into your home.
- Get an home security system for your home or business and make sure you actually use it. This can include alarms, CCTV and motion lights that will come on when someone comes onto your property. If you have an alarm, make sure you set it. So many people have alarms fitted and then don’t actually bother to use them. Set the alarm before you leave the house, and make sure your contact numbers are up to date.
- Fit a motion sensor in your home. Motion Sensors can help you detect intruders in your home. Costing less than £40, the sensors detect movement in your home when there shouldn’t be any, and can then send an alert to your smart device, can set off a home alarm, or can activate other smart home devices.
- Be careful with door and windows, especially in Summer when there is a tendency to vent windows. Leaving windows vented is quite common – letting the fresh air into rooms without actually opening windows fully. But burglars only need an inch to get into a home, so when you are out, shut windows properly. Adding break through laminate is also a way to make your windows more secure.
- Don’t leave valuables and keys on display. This becomes even more important at Christmas when people put the pressies on display. You might think the presents look beautiful under the tree, but you are openly displaying your wares to burglars. Why not get some fibre-optic gifts to place under the tree, and then put the real presents somewhere out of sight. Handbags and keys should also be placed out of sight, and not in full view of a window.
- Get a dog. It may seem extreme, but many burglars say that dogs are a real deterrent when it comes to choosing a house to burgle. Putting it simply, dogs bark, and that barking can often wake the whole street, let alone the occupants of the chosen house. If you have a dog, a burglar may just think again about entering your property uninvited.