Most burglaries happen when people are at home, according to concerning new statistics which are being used to urge the public to keep their doors locked at all times.
Some 64 per cent of burglaries in England and Wales occurred while residents were at home, according to ONS data from April 2019 to March 2020. This proportion has increased over the last decade, from 57 per cent 10 years ago.
Data from the last two years from insurance company Aviva reveals home theft claims increased by 15 per cent during October and November, compared to the monthly average during 2018-2019.
But alarmingly, a new Aviva study shows more than a quarter of people (26 per cent) don’t lock their doors when they are at home. This is despite ONS statistics revealing that 76 per cent of domestic burglaries in England and Wales were accessed through a door, and in 24 per cent of cases where entry was gained, the door was unlocked.
Sarah Applegate, Insight and Strategy Lead, Global General Insurance at Aviva, comments: 'We tend to imagine that burglaries happen when everyone is out, but the unfortunate reality is they can take place at any time, whether we’re home or not. Most burglaries are opportunistic, so if a door or window is left unlocked, someone can be in and out of a house in just a few seconds.
'Our claims data shows that thefts tend to increase during autumn and winter months, so it’s really not worth taking a chance. Simple tasks like locking doors and windows on both homes and outbuildings can significantly reduce the risk of being burgled. We’d urge everyone to get into the habit of locking up, even when at home.'
Aviva has shared the following security tips for residents while at home:
1. Create a room without a view
Don’t leave valuable items on show near windows. Shut curtains or blinds in the evening, or even during the day if you’re not in the room.
2. Leaving a light on can help to deter burglars
34 per cent of UK residents do this even while they are at home. If you’re heading to bed early, consider leaving an energy-efficient light on downstairs, or put a lamp on a timer switch so it appears that someone is still awake.
3. Lock doors and windows while you are at home
It may seem obvious, but 24 per cent of people don’t lock doors while at home (via ONS) and 45 per cent leave windows unlocked in unoccupied rooms, which could allow easy access for criminals.
4. And lock sheds, garages and outbuildings
Particularly if they're not attached to your property as you may not hear or see intruders.
5. Tidy up your tech
More people working from home is likely to mean more laptops and smartphones on the premises. When you’re not using your tech devices, put them away out of sight, in a place which isn’t easily accessible.
6. Be careful when answering your door
According to latest ONS crime figures, in seven per cent of cases where a burglar entered a dwelling, they pushed past an occupant to access the property. If you’re unsure about opening your door, trust your instincts.
7. Fit a spy-hole, safety chain or video doorbell
These can help you to see who’s at your door, without allowing them easy access to your home.
8. Be vigilant about who’s coming and going
Lockdown restrictions have meant more deliveries for many, but keep a watch on who’s visiting your home and report any suspicious activity to the police.
9. Look out for your neighbours
If lockdown restrictions mean you can’t visit other houses, make use of technology to check they're okay, particularly if they’re elderly or vulnerable. Give them a phone call or make use of social messaging groups, or texts.
10. Make use of a furry friend (or an imaginary one)
A dog can be a good deterrent to burglars – and if you don’t have a hound at your home, a simple 'beware of the dog' sign can be off-putting to would-be thieves.
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