Almost half of all burglary-related insurance claims occur between October and January. Here are some easy ways to help keep your home safe this burglary season
October has arrived, and while we revel in the crisp autumn mornings and crunchy, fallen leaves, we must be wary of things more sinister.
According to AA Home Insurance, almost half of all burglary-related insurance claims occur between October and January. The company has warned Irish homeowners to be particularly cautious this month, sharing some expert advice to help you keep your property safe.
“You can’t truly eliminate the risk of someone breaking into your property,” says Conor Faughnan, AA’s director of consumer affairs. “But there are steps you can take which will help reduce the likelihood of someone gaining access to your property (or at least make it more difficult for them to do so).”
Research shows that, for one in every five burglaries, the intruder gains access to the house via an unsecured door or window. Conor says, “It sounds obvious, but making sure any possible point of entry to your home is secure is a vital step for homeowners to take.”
He suggests everyone takes five minutes to check each window and door can lock; that each one has a key and that they all work as they should. He also recommends replacing any malfunctioning locks as soon as possible.
What’s more, ensure you have a working security alarm and use it regularly. AA’s research shows that in most cases when an alarm is activated, only the main bedroom was targeted by the intruders. “Conversely, where no alarm was present, our analysis indicates burglars spend more time in the property going from room to room.”
Burglars are picky about what they take
Contrary to what people think, smartphones and iPads tend to be last on a burglar’s lust-list. Instead, they search for jewellery (including watches) and power tools. Not only are these often more valuable, but tracking software (such as Find My iPhone) in smart technology acts as a deterrent.
Bikes are also highly sought-after by thieves, with an increasing number of people owning and keeping mid-high value bicycles in their homes. Conor says, “Having any items of value covered under your home insurance is a great start”.
Turn up the lights
As we edge closer to winter, many of us will find more reasons to be away from home. Whether we’re at our office Christmas party or on a late-night shopping spree, empty homes are prime targets for burglars.
The team at AA says, “If you’re planning on being out late, leave a light on at home (or fit a timer to turn the lights on and off automatically throughout the evening), to give the illusion that someone is home.”
It can also be wise to tell a trusted neighbour you’re away. An extra pair of watchful eyes can make all the difference.
Think like the enemy
To suss out weaknesses in your home security, it can be helpful to think as a burglar would. Consider what they’re most likely to search for first; i.e. a spare key under a flowerpot or beneath the doormat.
Similarly, avoid leaving your house and car keys in the front hall. All it takes is a quick smash of a window or a clever manoeuvre of a letterbox, and they’re in.
Read more: “I just want to feel safe in my home…”
Read more: My housemate keeps stealing my luxury food shops
Read more: Running and safety: the reality of being a female runner