Having items taken from your home or your garden is an unpleasant crime and one that some of you may have already experienced. But what can you do to keep your home and garden secure?
How likely is burglary?
Burglary can and does happen. A crime that leaves the victim devastated not just as the loss of belongings, but the thought of a stranger being in their home, compromising privacy and safety.
Thankfully, instances of burglary are decreasing – figures from the Office of National Statistics, show that there were just under 400,000 reported burglaries – but small comfort when you consider that less than 5% of burglars are caught, resulting in prosecution.
How burglaries are committed is also changing. We still think of the burglar as a balaclava-clad individual, forcing open locked doors and windows. But this isn’t always the case.
An Opportunistic Crime
Theft is opportunistic. It is a wide-open chance presented to someone who, in the blink of an eye, takes something that is not theirs. From an open garage door with the family bikes on show to a garden bench in the front garden taken during the day when you and your neighbours are at work, thieves love a chance to steal without the possibility of getting caught.
In fact, it may surprise you that the majority of burglaries are carried out during daylight hours, between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm, and not at night, as many of us would assume.
Who is More Likely to be Targeted?
Depressing statistics also show that there are some groups more likely to be targeted than others. Lone parent families or young people living on their own are two groups most likely to suffer a break-in.
The elderly are also vulnerable, especially to tactics such as distraction burglaries. This is where burglars work as a team, with one keeping the person talking at one door whilst their accomplice nips into the home through another, unlocked external door.
And finally, if you live in a town or city, your home is more at risk from burglary than rural properties. But in the countryside, theft can take a different form.
A New Kind of Theft
And there is another kind of theft on the rise too – pet theft. There are thousands of people across the UK, bereft at the snatching of their dog from the garden.
Again, working in pairs or ‘gangs’, these dog thieves watch and mark properties for ideal breeds. Some of these dogs may be sold on, their new owners blissfully unaware of the devastation of others, or dogs (and cats) are allegedly used in dog fighting circles.
What Puts Burglars Off?
From being extra vigilant to taking precautions, it is possible to decrease the likelihood of burglary or theft from your garden, including your pets.
The Home & Garden Security Guide addresses many different kinds of prevention measures. Some cost very little in terms of money and effort but others will require investment, but well worth it considering the peace of mind they bring.
The adage of prevention burglary, break-in and pet theft from your home is to make it harder for a thief to strike. This means showing them they are more likely to be caught. This comes in many different shapes and sizes…
- A smart home
Technology is moving on at an incredible pace, from cameras in doorbells to remote-accessed CCTV, to sensors that trigger when a door is opened, there are all kinds of options for monitoring your home.
But, you need to make some of this technology obvious. When someone spots a camera on your home, a thief is less likely to take a chance. They don’t want to be caught ad if they can be positively identified via CCTV images, their career is over.
- Change in routine
Your neighbourhood may be safe, but it is rare that your neighbours are the burglars. Thieves travel out of their areas, operating in parts of towns and cities where they cannot be readily identified.
And so, making life harder for them to gain access to your home starts with you:
- Lock external doors, even when you are in your home
- Keep garage doors and shed doors shut during the day – many opportunistic garden thefts happen in the summer when we are enjoying our gardens
- Keep garden furniture covered so it is not immediately obvious
- Consider adding fencing to your garden, as well as boundary hedges to make accessing it more difficult
- Gates are fantastic if they are shut and/or locked
- Security lights can also be a great deterrent
- Mark items
There are all kinds of ways you can mark an item to prove ownership should you be in the fortunate position to reclaim your lost items should they be recovered after a burglary – it can happen!
From marking with a postcode or serial number to being able to identify items in other ways, you can mark items that make them obvious they are not being bought from a reputable retailer.
For other items, take their photos – this is great for insurance claims, as well as claiming items back.
Your pet dogs are part of the family and unfortunately, in this day and age, need protecting from thieves.
- Fencing and gates – make sure that your pet dogs are kept within your boundaries and, if possible, kept within sight.
- Cameras – cameras that monitor and record your driveway or garden can provide invaluable evidence such as vehicle registration numbers, car or van make etc. that help in tracing thieves.
- Vigilance – pet thieves are known to operate in certain ways. For example, they drive around estates, will often use vans as opposed to cars and sometimes they leave marks on gate posts etc. for another gang to snatch the dog and so on. Being vigilant and reporting suspicious activity to the police is one prevention tactic.
- Chipping – make sure that your dog is chipped and that your details are up to date on the national database. This way, it may be possible to be reunited with your hound.
- Part of a ‘lost and found’ scheme – there are various schemes across the UK set up in direct response to the continuing theft of dogs. The important thing if your dog is taken is to act quickly, making the dog ‘too hot to handle’. That means harnessing the power of such schemes, as well as social media.
Protect Your Property
Some of the things you own are valuable, such as the garden sofa or garden table and chairs. Other things, such as jewellery, are hugely sentimental. The loss of these things is such a callous, unpleasant way is hugely upsetting.
Taking a few extra steps to protect your home and garden is more than worth it but for you, making your home and garden more secure is about peace of mind too.