Home security: keeping your home safe

How many of these home-security myths have you fallen for? Be careful, because they could actually put your family at risk. Here’s how. 

How many of these home-security myths have you fallen for? Be careful, because they could actually put your family at risk. Here’s how. 

Chris King
Home insurance expert
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Posted 25 FEBRUARY 2020

Home security: how you could be getting it wrong

Everyone believes they’ve got ingenious methods for foxing burglars – key under the flower pot, anyone? But statistics show that some of the most commonly held beliefs could in fact be putting your house at risk.  

Here are some of the most common home-security myths around. Which ones do you believe? Plus some advice on how to keep your home safe.

Myth 1: the elderly are most at risk of being burgled

In fact, the older you get, the less likely you are to be burgled. It’s actually people aged 16-24 who are most at risk. And that’s not all: 48% of 18-24 year olds don’t have contents insurance, as opposed to just 8% of over-55s.

Myth 2: most people hide their valuables under the bed

Nope. Instead 23% of people keep theirs in their underwear drawer, while 20% stash them in the wardrobe. As a result, those are the first places a burglar will look. Under the bed is still first choice for 12% of us though.

Myth 3: posting about your holiday on social media is harmless fun 

Checking into your holiday destination on Facebook is something many of us are guilty of. But it lets potential burglars know they’ve got the all-clear for a couple of weeks. If you have to post online, at least make sure your settings are on private. But be wary, posting online could invalidate your home insurance if you’re burgled while you’re away because you’ve not taken “reasonable care” in protecting your home.

Myth 4: burglar alarms are too unreliable to be worth the effort

In reality, even an empty burglar alarm box may deter an opportunistic thief. So it’s well worth installing a home-security system.   

Police recorded burglary has fallen year-on-year between the year ending March 2003 (890,099 offences) and the year ending March 2016 (401,001 offences), but slightly increased in the year ending March 2017 (411,536 offences). Police recorded burglary has more than halved in volume over the past decade. And according to the Office for National Statistics who supplied these figures, "it is widely accepted that improvements to home security have been an important factor in the reduction seen in domestic burglary offences." And getting a burglar alarm may even lower your home insurance.  

Myth 5: I’ve already got everything I need to deter a burglar

Did you know that gravel paths and driveways are one of the most effective deterrents? Most career burglars aren’t too keen on noisy approaches and getaways.

How to keep your home safe from burglary

The best way of keeping your home safe is to follow these crime prevention tips from the Police UK website.

  • Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you're just out in the garden, remembering to double-lock UPVC doors (lift handle and turn key)
  • Hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight and away from the letterbox (remember a device could be used to hook keys through the letterbox)
  • Install a visual burglar alarm (as part of a suite of prevention measures - a burglar alarm on its own will not prevent entry to your home)
  • Install good outside lighting
  • Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property
  • Leave radios or lights in your house on a timer to make the property appear occupied
  • Make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition
  • Secure bikes at home by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage
  • Keep ladders and tools stored away; don't leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home
  • Ensure side gates are locked to prevent access to the rear of the property
  • Ensure rear fencing is in good repair
  • Improve natural surveillance at the front of your property i.e. trim high hedges
  • Mark your property with postcode and house number and register your property for free with Immobilise (opens in a new window)
  • Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme  
  • Remove valuables from view of ground floor windows
  • Store any high value items (eg jewellery, passports) in a properly secured safe or bank vault
  • Content in this section used under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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