As autumn moves in, it gets noticeably darker in the mornings and at night. When the clock goes back at the end of October, it will not be long before it’s dark at 4:30pm. Although it is a myth that most burglaries occur at night, they do increase over the winter. Most actually occur during the day all the year round. Burglars want to minimise the risk of a confrontation and most people are out during the day. However, that doesn’t mean opportunists aren’t looking for signs of an easy burglary at night. Here are some simple tips to help keep your home safe.
Timer Switches / Leave a Light On
There are two options here. Firstly, you can leave a light on such as a front room light and a bedroom light (not a hallway). This is a deterrent in that the assumption is that somebody is at home. Another option is to use plug in lamps and timer switches. If lights are turning on and off throughout the course of an evening, this too suggests that somebody is at home. You can programme electronic timers to come on for just five minutes, for example.
Cut Back Hedges
Although your shrubs and hedges are losing leaves, there is still likely to be a lot of foliage after a warm summer. Shrubs and hedges may look nice, but they are a perfect shield for potential burglars staging a break in. It gives them time to examine potential entry points to your home. Shrubs shield suspicious activity. Do what you can to expose any garden space you have as much as possible. You don’t necessarily have to completely remove your prize hedge though.
Keep Exterior Windows Closed
It’s tricky while the weather is still mild when we have mild winter days just as we did last December to remember to close all our windows before going out. Your bathroom window may be small, but you’d be surprised at how determined some people can be to break in, taking plenty of time to wriggle in through a window. This applies equally to downstairs and upstairs windows. Do not leave ladders in positions where they may be used to aid a break in.
Install a Burglar Alarm
If you have the money, these electronic devices are worth the investment. There are two types. The first is registered with and notifies the Police should a break-in occur. How Police respond varies by type of alarm as it is reported that most call-outs are due to false alarms in the system. The second is one that sends out a loud, repeating alarm to alert people in the vicinity. If you install this type, they work best when you are on good terms with neighbours who are likely to investigate. These alarms can be expensive, but convincing dummy alarms are available too.
Take Keys with You
Many break-ins don’t actually require the physical act of a break-in (such as smashing a window or kicking through a door). Why? Because home owners are still in the habit of hiding a house key under a mat, in a fake stone or other place near to the door in a yard or garden. All the burglar need do is locate the key and use it to gain entry without damaging the property. Broken windows and doors raise suspicions of those passing by. A person using a key to gain access does not.
Get a Safe
If worse comes to worst, you can protect your most precious valuables using a safe. You should use it to store valuables such as jewellery, but also keys to other parts of the house and even car keys. Some opportunist thieves will take a car if it is valuable enough and easy to locate. A car in a garage is easy to take when stealing from the inside. Burglars will not attempt to break into a safe due to needing a code, which takes time. They want to be in and out as fast as possible.