What makes your home attractive to burglars?

Nobody wants their home to be burgled, home owners who want to reduce their chances of coming home to a nasty surprise need to understand what makes a property attractive to burglars and take steps to make their home look like more of a challenge than it’s worth.

Easy access

If you were a teenager trying to sneak back into your home without anyone seeing you and you’d forgotten your keys, how would you get in? If there’s one or more clear answers to this, then burglars have a discrete route into your property. Particular sticking points include having a high front boundary but low side and rear boundaries, making it  easy for burglars to gain entry to your garden without the neighbours seeing, especially if you make it even easier for them with unlocked gates and/or accessible wheelie bins. Open doors and windows are also obvious draws for burglars. Even when doors and windows are shut, unless they are actually properly locked with quality mortice locks, they are still vulnerable. Cylinder locks are a handy extra but are minimal use on their own. It’s worth taking steps to secure sheds properly too, even if they’re not used to store anything valuable – a burglar can hide in them for later.

On the subject of locks, if a spare key is in an obvious and convenient place for you, then the chances are it’s an easy target for a burglar. The ideal place to leave a spare key is with a friend or neighbour but if this is not practical, at least use an effective and secure hiding place (rather than under a flower pot).

Lack of lighting

Lack of internal lighting indicates one of two things. Firstly there’s nobody at home or secondly everyone at home is asleep. Even if a light is on at night, burglars might still be tempted to check out the property. Security lighting, however, is a deterrent and can have the added benefit of improving safety for legitimate visitors. Lighting can also be used to highlight that the property has an intruder alarm.

Visible signs that there is nobody at home

The classic here is post or flyers in the letterbox. Deliveries such as parcels or shopping being left in clear view is another obvious give-away that a property is currently unoccupied. If you get a lot of any of these it may be worth investing in a self contained closed mailbox, where the contents will be hidden. If the inside of a property can be easily viewed from the street, then a burglar can check for less obvious signs that a property is unattended, such as wilting house plants and dust build up. With that in mind, if you have to go away for any length of time, have someone take care of basic housekeeping. Obviously avoid posting your absence to Facebook.

Signs of valuables on the property

Most people aspire to own a beautiful home and have a luxury car on the drive, however this is very attractive to a burglar as you’re likely to have high value items within the property that would be easy to resale. This covers a wide range of items from consumer electronics to designer handbags. As far as possible keep valuables out of site and avoid obvious hiding places in the home (such as underwear drawers and cereal boxes). If you have anything really valuable and effectively uninsurable (i.e. it has sentimental value) then it may be worth investing in a proper safe.