How to stop burglars from targeting your home
01 July 2018

How to stop burglars from targeting your home


Burglary is one of the most distressing crimes anyone can experience.

Taking preventative home security measures is by far the most effective way to prevent your home from being burgled.

In the unfortunate event that you do become a victim of a burglary, knowing what you need to do first and how to cope with the emotional stress can be very difficult.

In this article, we'll help advise you on how best to protect your home, deal with the aftermath of a home invasion, and the steps you can take to minimise the risk of it happening again.


What does burglary mean?


Burglary describes the criminal act of a person forcing entry into the property of another with the intention of causing theft, damage or harm. A 'burglar' is what the person committing this crime is commonly referred to as.


'burglary'

[bur-gluh-ree]

Definition:

"Illegal entry of a building with intent to commit a crime, especially theft."


Source: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com

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Why would a burglar target your home?


Burglars usually seek to steal the property of others for their own personal gain or profit. They could be stealing as part of an organised criminal operation or they could be an opportunist thief. Either way, a burglar has no shame in invading the property of others.

Aside from the assumption that most homeowners will possess something worth stealing, there are several factors that could make your home appealing to the average burglar.

Valuables on show

If you have high-value items on display within your home, you're essentially advertising your belongings to a potential thief. By 'on display', we mean anything that is easily visible from outside the property, such as through a window or door. Burglars are not afraid to take a closer look if they think it's worth the risk.


There's no-one home

Burglars always prefer the easy pickings. So, if a property clearly looks unoccupied, they will be much happier to try their luck knowing there's no-one around to catch them in the act. Homes are most vulnerable during darker autumn and winter evenings, or when the property is left unoccupied for an extended period of time, such as when the owner is on holiday. 


Obvious lack of security

Homes where there are no obvious security systems or physical deterrents are favoured by thieves. They do not want to risk being caught, slowed down or raising the alarm to anyone nearby. Therefore, a house with no alarm system, CCTV cameras, outdoor lights or physical barriers is the ideal candidate for a potential break-in.


Being a victim of burglary


Coming home to find your home has been burgled is a feeling that no-one should have to experience. As well as any damage or disturbance caused by the break-in itself, it is highly likely some of your possessions will have been stolen by the intruder.

Losing items of monetary value is naturally upsetting. However, it can be much more painful to find possessions of sentimental value have been taken. These are often considered to be irreplaceable and will naturally be a higher priority to recover.

The most commonly stolen items include:

• Wallets/Purses/Cash/Cards
• Jewellery/Watches
• Computer Equipment
• Mobile Phones
• Electrical Goods

Source: Office of National Statistics - Nature of crime: burglary - Crime in England & Wales, year ending March 2017

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The emotional effects of burglary


It is often assumed that the most upsetting consequence of being burgled is the loss of personal possessions. It's important to know that this is not always the case.

For many victims of domestic burglary, it is the thought of a stranger having invaded your personal and private space that causes the most pain. Your home is where you are used to feeling most secure. Knowing your security has been compromised can therefore lead to feelings of stress, anxiety and fear that you are no longer safe.


82% of domestic burglary victims expressed they were emotionally affected by the experience. Feelings such as anger, annoyance, shock and fear were recorded as the most popular types of emotional response.


The most important thing to remember is that suffering a burglary is not your fault, and there are organisations available such as Victim Support who can help provide you with emotional support and advice on moving forward.

Source: Office of National Statistics - Nature of crime: burglary - Crime in England & Wales, year ending March 2017

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Burglary rates in the UK


The latest UK burglary statistics reveal that this type of crime remains as one of the most-recorded offences by the Police. For the year ending March 2017, 650,000 incidents of domestic burglary were recorded by the Police.


In terms of when these burglaries happened, the stats show that 57% of break-ins occurred during the evening/night, with the remaining 43% taking place during the daylight hours.


Source: Office of National Statistics - Nature of crime: burglary - Crime in England & Wales, year ending March 2017

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What to do if your home is burgled


If you are unfortunate enough to experience a burglary, firstly, try not to panic. The emotional stress can be very difficult to cope with but keeping a cool head will make it much easier to recover from the shock and plan out the next steps.

Here is a list of things to consider once you are ready...

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1. Contact the Police

As soon as you become aware of the incident, call the Police. The quicker you can report the crime, the better chance the Police will have of catching those responsible. If you suspect an intruder could still be present or you feel unsafe, call the Police from outside the property or a safe location nearby.


2. Try not to touch anything

It is entirely possible that an intruder could have left some form of forensic evidence behind whilst in your home. Police officers will be looking for anything that could help them with their investigation, for example, fingerprints. Therefore, it's important not to disturb any potential evidence before the Police arrive.


3. Obtain a Crime Reference Number

The Police will give you a unique Crime Reference Number which will be used to file any communications relating to your incident. Please make a note of this number as you will need to provide it when liaising with the Police and your home insurance company.


4. List any items that have been stolen or damaged

Make a list of all the items you believe have been taken or damaged during the burglary. This information will also be needed by the Police and your home insurance company. To help recover your goods or claim compensation, try to provide as much information about each item as possible. The more detailed the description, the better.


5. Contact your bank

This is especially important if you have had any debit or credit cards stolen. Your bank or building society will be able to cancel your cards and prevent them from being used by the thief. They will be able to check for any suspicious account activity and issue replacement cards quickly for you.


6. Check your personal documents

Be sure to check that you have all your personal documents such as passports and driving licences. If any are missing, inform the relevant authority as soon as possible.


7. Inform your home insurance company

If you hold a policy for contents insurance, you should be able to make a claim for any stolen or damaged valuables. You'll need buildings cover to claim for any damage to your property. Your insurance company will request your Police Crime Reference Number and details about the stolen or damaged items.


8. Review your home security

The last thing you'll want is to suffer a burglary again in the future. It's therefore a good idea to take a look at your current home security provision and practices, and decide whether to consider making improvements. The Police will be able to help advise you on basic burglary prevention measures and techniques. There are also specialist home security companies like Allcooper who will be able to recommend home security systems such as Burglar Alarms, CCTV and Security Lighting to deter burglars and improve the protection of your home.

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How to prevent your home from being burgled


Preventing your home from becoming an easy target for burglars requires a mixture of everyday common sense and basic home security. 

There are many simple things you can do to deter the modern-day thief, all of which can be easily integrated into your daily routine. It's also possible to improve the overall security of your home by investing in security systems, such as Burglar Alarms.


Tips to keep your home secure


1. Improve your home security

Installing home security systems is a proactive way of making your home more secure. As a starting point, a good quality alarm system is a highly-recommended method of keeping burglars at bay. They are a superb deterrent. The sight of an external alarm box alone is usually enough to stop a potential thief from trying their luck. If a burglar were to break in, your alarm will emit a loud audible siren, putting off the burglar and raising the alarm to neighbouring homes and passers-by.

There are lots of additional options available such as monitoring, CCTV and security lighting. Using the services of a professional security company is your best bet for advice on the best system for you.


2. Lock your doors and windows

It goes without saying - don't make it easy for opportunists. Every time you leave home, make sure you secure all your windows and lock all your doors.


3. Keep valuables out of sight

Advertising your valuables by storing them in view of windows is often too tempting for a burglar. Keeping them out of sight and stored away removes the temptation instantly.


4. Make your home look occupied

An unoccupied home looks vulnerable. If you're going on holiday or not going to be home for an extended period, try to create the illusion someone is around. This can be done by leaving lights on in some rooms, using timer switches or asking a friend or neighbour to check in on your property each day.


5. Don't overshare on social media

Burglars are increasingly using social media sites such as Facebook to identify potential victims. Avoid telling the world where you are by 'checking-in' at restaurants and holiday destinations. Don't post pictures of your most prized valuables. It's a good idea to check your privacy settings - restricting your profile so that it can only be viewed by trusted friends and relatives can be done quickly and is well-worth the effort.


6. Join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme

Neighbourhood Watch encourages people to act together to prevent and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. By working together with your neighbours, you can actively contribute to reducing crime in your community.

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What are the best Home Security Systems?


Burglar Alarms

The best Burglar Alarms are professionally installed and maintained by an NSI Gold accredited company. NSI Gold is the industry standard for quality. You can choose between a wireless or wired system, depending on your preference. Wireless systems operate on radio frequencies whilst wired systems are connected using traditional cable.

Read more about Burglar Alarms


CCTV Systems

Installing security cameras in the home environment has become an increasingly popular trend over recent years. This is thanks to product developments which have made CCTV systems more accessible, easier to install and cost-effective. More and more, cameras are being thought of as a very effective burglar deterrent. Police are also relying on homeowners with residential CCTV installations to help solve neighbourhood crimes.

Read more about CCTV


Outdoor Security Lighting

Outdoor lighting is effective for both security and convenience. Usually triggered by motion, lighting helps illuminate dark areas around the home to help you feel more secure and give a burglar no place to hide.

Read more about Outdoor Security Lighting


Book a free home security survey


If you would like more advice on protecting your home from burglary, our team here at Allcooper would be happy to help. Contact us by phone or email to arrange a complimentary home security survey with one of our experienced providers.

Call 01452 372626 or click here to send us your enquiry by email.

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