Outwit the burglar: how to protect your home from a break in

While the number of incidents of domestic burglary across England and Wales have fallen in recent years, there are still pockets of crime hotspots. Even in areas of low crime, if you fail to protect your home, you could be inviting trouble. Secure, well-lit homes are less attractive to burglars. Preventative measures are the key to outwitting the burglar.

We’ve put together a guide on how to protect your home from a break in, with everything from the benefits of outdoor lighting to decoy security alarms, as well as an insight into the things burglars look out for.

First of all, let’s take a look at the current domestic burglary trends.

Domestic burglary: the trends

The long-term trends in burglary indicate the number of domestic burglary incidents are falling. That’s good news, but property dwellers and homeowners should still remain vigilant. According to figures released by the Office of National Statistics, around 2 in 100 households were victims of domestic burglary in the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), year ending March 2017.

This compares to around 9 in 100 households suffering domestic burglary in 1995. That means households today are four times less likely to be a victim of burglary than in 1995.

It is widely accepted that improvements to home security have been an important factor in the reduction of domestic burglary offences in recent years. To protect your home, take a look at our home security tips below:

Home security tips

Keeping on top of home security is important. According to Police UK, homes with no security measures are five times more likely to be burgled than those with simple security measures. Not bothering to replace a bulb in an outdoor light could create an attractive cloak for a snooping burglar looking for a target. Here are our top home security tips that could save you from a break in:

  1. Install good outside lighting.
  2. Make sure all of your windows and doors are strong and secure. Ensure windows are fitted with locks, and all doors have mortise locks.
  3. Install a visual burglar alarm. It doesn’t have to be an expensive security system. Even a ‘fake it till you make it’ decoy could make a difference.
  4. Always lock your doors and windows when you leave the house. Even if you are out in the garden, be sure to close windows on the other side of the house.
  5. Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property when you are out.
  6. Leave radio and lights on a timer when you are away to make the house appear as though it is occupied.
  7. Protect your privacy with appropriate window treatments. Leaving your blinds and curtains wide open gives burglars an unobstructed view of your valuables.
  8. Keep valuables in the home hidden from view of ground floor windows.
  9. Store high value items in a secure safe. Bolt the safe to the floor.
  10. Consider remote controlled electric blinds. The Somfy® RTS system allows you to operate blinds on a timer from your smartphone or iPad outside of the home.
  11. Ensure fencing around your property and garden is in good repair.
  12. Ensure side gates are locked to prevent easy access to the rear of your property.
  13. Keep ladders and tools locked away out of sight.
  14. Secure bikes by locking them to an immoveable object inside a shed or garage.
  15. Keep sheds, garages and out buildings locked.
  16. Trim high hedges to improve natural surveillance.
  17. Don’t leave car keys on tables or hooks close to the front door.
  18. When going on holiday, cancel regular grocery deliveries and newspapers, use the Royal Mail’s ‘keepsafe’ service, or ask a trusted neighbour to pick up your post

What burglars look out for

Contrary to belief, rather than sneaking around in the dead of night, most burglaries happen during the day, and most are opportunistic events rather than planned. Here are some of the things that burglars look out for:

  • Open windows or back doors.
  • Dusty keyholes and dusty alarm boxes suggest they are rarely used.
  • Thieves may knock on the door to check if anyone is home.
  • Unlocked garages with tools to aid a break in.
  • Tall, overgrown hedges and heavy foliage provide the perfect hiding place.
  • Activity – some burglars will monitor a row of houses, which is why lights on timers are an important preventative measure.
  • Packaging from expensive items in recycling bins are a tip off that you have valuables inside.


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