September is upon us, the kids are back at school and over the last few weeks we’ve watched the dark nights creep in on us that little bit quicker each evening. Meanwhile in Westeros, winter is coming and the night is full of terrors. The White Walkers have broken through the wall in the North and are flooding into the Seven Kingdoms. Whilst the threat of darkness is not as great as the threat of the ’army of the dead’ on the move, statistics do show that winter does present real threats to homeowners in the UK and Ireland.
On 29th October, the clocks will go back one hour and with that we will be faced with darkness from late afternoon. Research carried out by Co-op Insurance in 2016 revealed that winter presents a significantly greater threat to homeowners (and renters) than the bright lights of spring and the sunshine (sometimes!) of summer. Having analysed thousands of customer claims since 2013, Co-op Insurance discovered that home theft claims jump by 36% in the five months after the clocks go back, in comparison to the five months before the time change. Friday was also revealed as the most popular day of the week for burglars to strike.
Under the cover of darkness burglars are able to hide in the shadows and detect unoccupied houses, such as those with no cars or lights on much more easily. Motor insurance claims also rise by about 6% when British Summertime ends.
So what can homeowners do to secure their property or protect their valuables this winter?
Home Security Tips to Minimise Break-ins and Theft of Valuables
- Sensor Lighting. When it comes to getting inside the head of a burglar, who better to ask for advice than experienced (but reformed!) burglars themselves – that’s exactly what Co-op Insurance did. Motion activated security lights are most likely to put would-be burglars off, with 26% steering clear of homes with these installed.
- Fit a timer to inside lights – making your home look occupied when you are out is also popular advice from Neighbourhood Watch.
- Fit stronger locks - fitting window locks and double or deadbolts on your doors is also sensible advice.
- Alarm system – fit an alarm system and ensure to arm it each time you leave the house. The ear-piercing sound of a house alarm sounding generates unwanted attention, which is often enough to convince any burglar that it’s not a good idea to stay around and wait for the neighbours or police to investigate.
- Security Cameras – no burglar wants to be caught on camera breaking into a property, and these days some camera systems are operated remotely in real-time enabling fast response times to catch a burglar on the act.
- Lock-up Day & Night – lock your front and back doors at all times, even during the daytime when you are inside the house to protect against opportunist thieves but leave the key in the inside locks or keep it in your pocket to enable you to make a quick exit, just in case of an emergency.
However, despite all of these deterrents, if burglars are determined to get in they will get in. Co-op Insurance observed that home thefts from November to March are more likely to involve forced entry than in the summer months, but opportunistic and non-forcible burglaries are more common in summer when people have left doors or winters open, providing easy access.
Make Fools out of Thieves with a Secure Home Safe
If we can’t stop them getting in, let’s try to stop them from making it away from the property with our valuables and treasured possessions by installing a home safe. Home safes have risen in popularity, partly due to insurance clauses on a homeowners policy which state that items over a certain value must either be worn by the owner, kept in their possession or stored in a home safe at all times.
The following tips will help you to choose a home safe that will act as both a deterrent and an obstacle to burglars:
- Check your safe’s insurance rating – for some cheaper models of safe, a hammer might be all that is needed to override the locking mechanism. The higher the rating of the safe, the more secure it is and if there’s no rating, avoid purchasing it as this means that it hasn’t been tested to prove that it’s fit for purpose. European Safe Standards denote that Grade 0 Safes should be used for storing up to £6,000 in cash and £60,000 in valuables, while Grade 6 which is the highest grade covers up to £150,000 in cash and £1,500,000 in Jewellery Cover – the amount of cash and the price or worth of the valuables within it increases with each grade. Please note there are Grades in between these:
- Grade 1 is £10,000 in cash & £100,000 in Jewellery Cover
- Grade 2 is £17,500 in cash & £175,000 in Jewellery Cover
- Grade 3 is £35,000 in cash & £350,000 in Jewellery Cover
- Grade 4 is £60,000 in cash & £600,000 in Jewellery Cover
- Grade 5 is £100,000 in cash & £1,000,000 in Jewellery Cover
P.s There are also lesser Graded safes that start for £1,000 cash cover to £5,000 cash cover
- Fix it so it can’t be moved – some burglars who stumble across a home safe may be tempted to remove it from the premises and break into it in the comfort of their own homes. However, if you choose a safe make sure it is base fixed or rear fixed to a concrete wall or floor, or in the worst case, a wooden floor, it’s not quite so easy to snatch it and run!
- Conceal your home safe – make sure that the safe is concealed with a cover when not in use so that it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb! If it takes too long to find, if they can find it at all, they may give up and leave empty-handed. Staying around too long hunting means they run a greater risk of being disturbed by the occupants returning or being caught in the act by the arrival of the police.
- Put a PIR alarm sensor in the room – a ‘passive infrared sensor’ is an electronic sensor that measures infrared light radiating from objects in its view. PIR motion based detectors detect emitted infrared energy given off by humans in the form of heat. A sudden increase in infrared energy results in an alarm being sounded. Remember to activate the sensor before you leave the home.
The Securikey Minivault Series of keylock and electronic safes are reasonably priced and include extra security features such as the anti-bludgeon flush fit door. However, with many different safe brands and home security safes available, it’s advisable to do your research to choose the best home safe to meet your needs and budget.
If you need some help to choose the most suitable home safe for your house, contact our team on 02890812010 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be more than happy to talk you through the options, features and prices.