Break-in Britain: How safe is your home?

Melanie Wright
Written by: Melanie Wright
Posted on: 6 April 2016

More than half of homeowners in the UK are very concerned about being burgled; yet the vast majority of us only take very basic measures to protect our properties.

According to research conducted by ironmongery supplier, Ironmongery Direct, 87% of people said that they only went as far as fitting locks and security lights to deter burglars.

Burglar alarms were cited as the third most common form of home security. Out of more than 1,000 homeowners questioned, only 40% said they had installed an alarm to protect their homes. Only one in six said they used more advanced measures, such as CCTV.

Perhaps most worryingly, the study found that 34% of homeowners have been broken into in the past five years, and 9% have been a victim more than once. Plus, almost half (43%) said that they knew someone else in their neighbourhood who had been burgled.

Instead of hiding your spare key under a plant pot or door mat, leave it with a close friend or family member who lives nearby

Unresolved crimes

A burglary can be deeply upsetting for victims.

Not only do you have to deal with the emotional impact of knowing that a stranger has broken into your home and rifled through your possessions, but you may also lose some irreplaceable items.

Research conducted by Churchill Insurance found that police only solved 12.2% of burglary crimes in England and Wales in the year to March 2014, and the vast majority of victims never get stolen items back. Dyfed-Powys police has the lowest incidence of burglaries with 2.5 in every 1,000 people falling victim to a burglary every year. This is in start contrast to Humberside, where 10.8 in every 1,000 people fall victim to this type of crime.

In England and Wales as a whole, 7.2 people per 1,000 of the population fall victim to burglary.

If your mobile is stolen, call your contract provider immediately so thieves can’t rack up big bills in your name

Protection pays

It really does pay to protect your property.

Firstly, check your property to see if there are any vulnerable areas. For example, are there any places where a burglar could gain access without being spotted? If so, trim back any shrubbery that could provide them with cover, and keep garden gates shut when you’re away.

You should also lock ladders away so that they cannot be used to access your home and never hide your spare key under a plant pot or door mat. Instead, leave it with a close friend or family member who lives nearby.

Also, don’t leave any items on display that might appeal to burglars. Claims analysis from Direct Line Home Insurance and Direct Validation Services found that bicycles are the most in-demand item for burglars, followed by mobile phones, power tools and lap-tops.

Remember, tablets and mobile phones often come with security features that allow users to track their device. Make sure this feature is turned on to help police find your device if it’s stolen.

If you are burgled, call your contract provider immediately and have the line and phone blocked to prevent thieves from racking up big bills in your name.

Don’t forget, all households should have a comprehensive buildings and contents insurance policy in place in case the worst happens. It’s also important you regularly check your cover limits to ensure you have sufficient protection in place.

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