Homes with no security measures are five times more likely to be burgled than those with measures in place.

 The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed a 13% increase in theft between March 2017 and March 2019, with 28% of UK adults having no security precautions at home. It’s important that home security is taken more seriously to protect against thieves and burglary.

Awareness is a key step in bucking the rising trend, which is why we are backing National Home Security Month (NHSM) taking place again for the month of October. It exists to raise awareness around home security, protecting homes, family and belongings.

In support, we have put together this article showcasing what we’ve learned from the first week of NHSM and show you what you need to know about home security.

What are the biggest myths?

 Burglary isn’t confined to low-income areas, it’s one of the biggest myths about home safety is that burglary only happens to other people, we’re going to explore six of the other main ones.

1. Leaving the outside light on will scare burglars away.

Leaving a light can give the appearance that someone is at home when you’re not or awake when you’re asleep. It can also give burglars a clear pathway to your home, making it easier to break in. A motion-detection light is a good alternative, startling any potential burglars and alerting neighbours.

2. When you live in a Neighbourhood Watch area, there’s no need to have home security.

 A Neighbourhood Watch is a good strategy to prevent and deter burglars, 11% of Watch areas experienced fewer crimes than those without. But the Watch is reliant on people wanting to take part, their availability and spare time. Additional home security is still important in Watch areas, they are highly effective deterrents and are beneficial to the whole neighbourhood.

3. Home security systems are too expensive, too complicated and difficult to use.

 Ever improving technology, Wi-Fi and easy to install security systems appearing on the mainstream market means updating home security systems has never been simpler. Smart products can integrate easily with each other making it straightforward to build bespoke security systems, making them accessible for all.

4. As most burglaries take place during the night, there’s no point having the security system on in the day.

Burglars take advantage of people being out of the house at work, 70% of domestic burglaries take place during the week with 40% in the day, maintain your security system accordingly.

5 Having a large dog provides enough security. A modern home security system isn’t needed.

Large dogs can scare off unwanted visitors, but some burglars do carry weapons with intent to harm pets or homeowners. A dog cannot provide enough security against the most malicious criminals. Having additional security means both you and your pet are safe. The system now also have ‘pet-friendly sensors’ to stop your pet triggering the alarm.

6. A home alarm is all that’s needed to protect your home.

A home alarm will help protect your home and family, but there is a common tendency to switch off alarm systems when you’re at home or only going out for a short time.

If your alarm is off, your home is not protected. Over half of domestic burglaries occurred when someone was home, keeping your alarm on is vital. Smart alarms can be activated through an app, a good option for people who forget to switch their alarm on.

A mixture of security measures is important to not just rely on your alarm.

For more myth-busting visit the National Home Security Month website.

Hints and Tips

Hide Valuables

Make sure any valuable items such as bicycles, garden tools, electrical equipment, jewellery, tablets and other gadgets are always locked away when not in use.

Outdoor Maintenance

Always maintain fences, gates and hedges to a good standard. Overgrown hedges and fences requiring repair suggests to thieves that the home is uncared for and unlikely to have a security system.

Update your Locks

Over 40% of burglaries involve a forced door, locks should display the British Kitemark symbol, meaning they are certified by the British Standards Institute (BSI) to BS 3621, high quality and anti-snapping. This certification acts as a visual deterrent and is recognised as a symbol of trust and safety.

Set your Alarm

A home alarm system provides an additional security layer and can reduce insurance premiums, depending on the provider. Alarm systems should always be on, even when you’re at home. If you struggle to remember, consider leaving yourself a note by the door. Alternatively, a smart alarm installation can send reminders to your phone.  

Secure your Windows

It’s important to lock your windows whenever you leave the house, especially during the warmer months. Avoid leaving them open at night, it’s an easy entrance point for burglars. Check the condition of your windows frequently, any rust or rot should be dealt with as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Keep Keys in a Safe Place

It may seem convenient, inconspicuous and safe to leave spare keys under a doormat or plant pot, but burglars are very familiar with common hiding places. Don’t leave your keys inside the door, burglars will use the ‘fishing technique’, go through the letterbox and let themselves in.

Avoid DIY

Doing it yourself may seem a good way to save money when installing security measures. Without proper training and experience, it can have a detrimental effect on your property and your family’s security. A professional is worth the extra expense.

Don’t Make it Obvious you’re Away

If you’re not home, it’s much easier for a burglar to enter and take your valuables. You should cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries and consider allowing a trusted friend or neighbour to check on your home, to collect any post that has accumulated. Avoid showing your absence on social media, especially if your profiles are not private.

Check Security Regularly

All security measures should be checked regularly, at least annually. Self-testing is an option if you feel confident in how to do it and know what to look for, consult a professional if you are unsure or would like a more thorough assessment.

Use Security Professionals

Making use of security professionals to protect your home and family means you are getting the added benefits of experience, skill and solutions tailored to your individual property.

ARK’s alarm response and keyholding services removes the risk to you, your family. The response service can be linked to any device that sends out a signal including intruder, fire or panic alarms and even your CCTV system. ARK’s officers are competently trained to react accordingly to a range of situations, an effective criminal deterrent while affording you the peace of mind that your property will always be under supervision.

APG’s division VRC offers CCTV and alarm monitoring, which allows their operators to evaluate an alarm signal or movement detection and initiate the appropriate course of action. This may include an audio warning to an intruder, notifying your keyholder or calling the emergency services. CCTV monitoring is effective whether you live in a busy city centre or out in the countryside, it is cost-effective and allows homeowners to be proactive in preventing domestic burglary, as opposed to acting after the fact.

BGB has a range of perimeter solutions providing a high level of security for every type of residential property. Their mesh and palisade fencing are incredibly durable, highly secure and an ideal deterrent to any potential burglars, making it extremely difficult for a thief to gain access to your home.

Additionally, their variety of gates which can be integrated with any fencing are also highly effective at deterring criminals and preventing burglary. All BGB’s automatic gates can also be configured to alarm systems on the property and be installed with additional safety features including anti-climb spikes and warning sirens.

For further hints and tips, National Home Security Month have compiled a simple checklist to help homeowners identify any vulnerabilities in their home and help to make the UK safer.

About APG

The Asset Protection Group comprises a group of Fire & Security companies with shared ownership and one common goal, protecting your most important assets. As a collective group, we look to offer protection to your assets to assist you with your ongoing success within your own business.