Many of us worry about falling victim to a burglary, especially when we’re home alone or going on holiday and leaving our property unattended for a significant amount of time. Thankfully the 2021 burglary statistics released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) indicate that burglaries in England and Wales fell again in the year ending March 2020. However that doesn’t mean that we don’t still have to be vigilant. There are certain useful pieces of information that can be pulled from the data in order to help you better guard against the risk of having your house broken into. So let’s dive right in with some vital statistics!
It’s all about timing
This year’s UK burglary statistics show that, just like the previous ten years, the majority of house break-ins happen during the evening or night. This probably doesn’t surprise you, as operating under the cover of darkness reduces the risk of thieves being spotted by passersby. Having said that, the difference in the number of daylight burglaries and nighttime burglaries might not be as large as you expect, with about 62% happening between the hours of 6pm and 6am. Either way, the lesson here is that it’s helpful to take extra steps to secure your home at night. Some top suggestions include:
- Installing motion-sensitive security lights on your property to illuminate any intruders and scare them off. No one likes to commit a crime under a spotlight!
- Having your interior lights on a timer to come on during the evening when you’re not home. The side note to this tip is not to leave them on continuously. This can look strange and make it obvious to potential burglars that no one’s at home – after all, it’s not often that you leave the lights on all night!
- Keep your curtains closed – that way, no one can see for sure whether you’re in or not, or spot any valuables on display that might act as a temptation to opportunistic thieves.
Method of entry
The ONS 2021 burglary statistics also showed that entering a home via a door was by far the most common method for burglars – occurring in 76% of cases – followed by windows at 20%. Again this might not be a particularly surprising finding but is useful as an indication as to where you should concentrate your home security efforts. Beyond the obvious advice to always lock your doors (please do this, whether you are at home or not!), the following tips can be helpful:
- Install locks that meet British Standard requirements, or upgrade to a digital smart lock that can be operated from your phone
- Don’t hide spare keys under your doormat, plant pots, or other similar places – burglars know all the tricks, and unfortunately, you’re unlikely to fool them. Leaving a key with a friend, family member, or neighbour is your best option
- Ensure that your exterior doors are strong and sturdy – including the frame. This will make it harder to break them. Composite doors are generally a reliable choice
- Have CCTV cameras (or dummy ones) installed where people can see them. This is one of the best deterrents you can have – with barking dogs being equally effective but more adorable!
- Keep your garden clear. Leaving out tools or ladders is only making the job of gaining entry to your home easier for opportunistic thieves
Don’t become another statistic
If there’s one thing that the UK burglary statistics can teach us, it’s that we don’t want to be included in them! The good news is that we can take lots of actions to protect our property and our possessions. Thieves tend to be put off by anything that makes a burglary more difficult or risky, so take advantage of this. Here are a few of our top tips:
- Never post too much information about your schedule, holiday plans and similar details on social media (or any other public forum). This is advertising to burglars that your house is empty and therefore might be easy to steal from
- Add a cage around your letterbox to prevent thieves from using a small implement to ‘fish’ your keys or similar small items out without even having to enter your home. Similarly, never leave your keys in the lock
- Install a burglar alarm or a convincing fake, and ensure that people can see from the outside that it’s activated
- If you have neighbours you get on well with, ask them to pop round when you’re away for long periods of time to prevent the post from piling up – this can signal to burglars that no one is at home and therefore, your property is an easy target