16 October 2017

Darker months bring higher risk of burglary

When the clocks go back, the days shrink and the nights grow longer, it's always a good time to review your home security systems.

UK Crime Stats reveal there is normally a rise in burglaries in the month after the clocks change and the evenings are darker earlier. In 2015, November saw the highest number of burglaries in the year, almost 38,000. Last year there was a 7% increase between October and November.

Meanwhile, research from Co-op Insurance of claims since 2013 found a 36% spike in home insurance claims in the five months after the clocks go back, with Friday the most likely day for a theft to happen.

Why is there an increased risk of burglary?

Many burglaries occur at night, so it's no surprise that more happen after the clocks change in October and the nights get longer.

Burglars are better able to spot patterns in when homes are occupied at night, as lights are more likely to be on when someone is in and off when they're out. Burglars also have a better chance of being able to successfully hide in the dark.

The Co-op research also highlighted the different nature of home break-ins. Between November and March thieves are more likely to use forced or violent entry than in the summer, when burglaries tend to be opportunistic, taking advantage of open windows or doors and not requiring force to gain entry.

What measures you can take?

Make it a habit to leave a light on in the evening, check that all windows and doors are locked, lock up any sheds and outbuildings, get a burglar alarm installed and make sure to switch it on when it's needed. It’s also a good idea to:

  • Ensure garden gates and access routes are secure
  • Draw your curtains at night
  • Plant bushes near ground-level windows and install security lighting outside of your property
  • SmartWater can be applied to large or valuable objects to help you to trace stolen possessions
  • Use a safe to keep small valuables secure
  • Don't advertise your movements on social media. It may leave your home more vulnerable to break-ins.

Make sure you don't leave a spare key by the back door or under the mat and avoid having keys on show behind clear glass doors or windows.

Key-operated locks that meet British Safety Standards make windows more secure. You should also have a security chain and door viewer for your front door.

What do burglars hate?

Further research from the Co-op in August 2017 reveals that 44% of ex-convicts consider most thieves to be opportunists who would avoid tricky break-ins. Here are the top ten home security precautions burglars hate the look of most:

  1. CCTV cameras
  2. The sound of a barking dog
  3. Strong heavy doors
  4. A TV turned on
  5. Locked uPVC windows
  6. Cars parked on driveway
  7. An overlooked property 
  8. Surrounding fences
  9. Gates outside of the property
  10. Motion activated security lights

Get help from the wider community

Our Watch runs the UK's Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, the largest voluntary community movement in the UK. They've been vital in fostering good community relationships and communication between citizens and the police, a key factor in reducing local crime levels.

Local groups create their own policies on how Neighbourhood Watch operates in their area. If your neighbourhood doesn't have one, you can get in touch and start creating one to help improve residents' peace of mind in your community.

Find out more about Nationwide home insurance

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