With more people enjoying lighter evenings and warmer weather outside of the home, opportunistic thieves will be on the lookout for the chance to target empty or unsecured households.
As we enter the summer months, police are warning about the rise of so called ‘sneak-in-burglaries’ when doors and windows are opened to let in fresh air whilst home owners are outside enjoying barbecues, in their gardens or even in bed, and potentially letting down their guard when it comes to home security.
According to Halifax Home Insurance, opportunistic thieves ramp up their activity during summer, resulting in a 10% increase in domestic burglaries and a 40% increase in outdoor thefts. 1
The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) – the leading trade association for the locksmith industry – is offering expert advice to help householders secure their homes and offer peace of mind, as they enjoy time outdoors, even just for a short time, whilst leaving their home unattended.
Dr Steffan George, Managing Director of the MLA, advises, “There are lots of things you can do to help keep your home safe and secure, even when you are outside enjoying the glorious summer weather in the back garden, popping to see a neighbour or going for a walk. If in doubt, seek advice from a trusted and experienced professional. MLA locksmiths are independently vetted and inspected and many will be able to perform a complete security assessment of your home free of charge.”
The MLA recommends the following six top tips for helping to keep your home secure this summer:
According to the Home Office, 56% of burglaries take place during the evening, so be cautious about leaving windows open on a warm night. If you do want to leave windows open then consider getting window restrictors professionally installed so that they can’t be fully opened to allow somebody to climb in.
Always lock your doors and windows, even when you’re at home or in the garden – it only takes a minute for a burglar to sneak in. An expert locksmith, such as an MLA-approved company, will be able to check that your locks meet insurance requirements and upgrade them if needed
Don’t leave valuable items, like car keys, wallets, and mobile phones, in reach of an open window, door or even a cat flap if you have one. Better still, lock them in a high quality, professionally-installed safe. Your local MLA approved locksmith can give you advice as well as supply and install a safe.
Install a home alarm and make sure to use it even if you’re only going to be out of the home for a short period of time. As well as alerting you to issues, alarms can also act as a good visual deterrent. Homes with a security system are 300% less likely to be burgled.2
After a day in the garden, remember to put tools, ladders and other equipment in a well-secured shed or garage out of sight, as expensive outdoor equipment can attract opportunistic thieves and also be used to break into your house. Use chains and padlocks that have been independently tested by a 3rd party Certification agency such as Sold Secure (www.soldsecure.com)
Beware of accepting new friends or connections on social media, if you don’t know them personally. Burglars can pose as ‘friends’ to find out more about you and your home. And finally, avoid posting snaps of your days or outdoor activities on social media at the time. Enjoy your summer, but don’t tell the world that your home is empty. Instead post your photos whilst relaxing and enjoying a nice cup of tea when you get back home!
You can find an accredited locksmith, who will help you review your home’s security, and a full list of security advice, at MLA’s website www.locksmiths.co.uk; and visit www.soldsecure.com to find a list of independently tested and approved security products.
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2 Home Security Month, 2017 (Yale)