Signs your home may be at risk of being burgled
With UK residents falling victim to over 270,000 burglaries¹ in the past year, experts have revealed the telltale signs that your home is being watched by burglars.
Michele Benett, General Manager at ADT UK&I Subscriber says “Home break-ins can be absolutely devastating. Not only does the theft of items cost homeowners money, but it can also lead to people feeling unsafe in their own homes. Keeping a watchful eye on your surroundings, reporting any suspicious activity to the police, and making sure your security is tight can help prevent thieves from entering your building and help homeowners to avoid the stress and unsettlement that comes with break-ins. With this in mind, we have named the 5 telltale signs your home may be being targeted for a burglary.”
5 signs your home may be at risk of robbery
1. Unknown vehicles are loitering on your street
Burglars are most likely to scope out a property in a car before they choose to target your home. If you notice an unknown car parked near your home, and you know that it does not belong to anyone in the neighbourhood, this could be an indication that someone is watching over you and your property.
If you notice an unknown car frequently visiting your neighbourhood, take note of the number plate, patterns and the appearance of the owner (if they are in the car) and inform the police.
2. Knocking on doors pretending to offer services
Knocking on doors and pretending to be salespeople or handymen is one of the most common ways to find out if a house is empty, and to scope out the properties.
Burglars may offer services such as free boiler checks, roof repairs or carpet cleaning, and if granted access will use the opportunity to assess the entry points, occupants of the house, the presence of a security system and pets as well as looking for any valuables.
Whilst some individuals may be legitimate salespeople, it is imperative that you do a background check before letting anyone inside your home. If you're unsure about the person, you are under no obligation to let them into your home.
3. Strange symbols and drawings around the house
Signs and symbols that you can’t decipher can be a lot less innocent than simple graffiti. Some believe that the signs are connected to criminals and organised crime, with officers in West Yorkshire publishing a list called the “Da Pinchi List” which includes signs such as ‘good target’, ‘previously burgled’, ‘too risky’, ‘wealthy’ and ‘alarmed house’.
If you see suspicious markings near your property, inform the police immediately.
4. An increase in ads, stickers and flyers
Advertising and marketing flyers being pushed through your door may seem harmless, but a sudden influx can be a sign of your home being targeted for a burglary. Similar to drawings, burglars have been known to put stickers on the mailboxes of houses they intend to target.
5. The disappearance of rubbish
Thieves are attracted to more than just money and jewellery. What you throw out is a great indication of what is in your home, and thieves will often look for boxes that show electrical devices such as TVs and computers before they enter the house.
Thieves may also look for unwanted papers that include important information such as your passport number, place of work, NI number and more. These discarded papers could lead to you becoming a victim of fraud, so it is important to shred any important documents.
The experts at ADT also offered their advice on how to deter thieves from targeting your home.
5 tips to deter burglars
1. Install a home security system
Smart home security systems can monitor your property 24/7, and can send alerts to your phone if you are out of the house. Systems offer police response, meaning that when an intruder alarm is triggered or a personal attack button is activated, the police will be contacted automatically. If the cameras are visible around your home, burglars are less likely to strike.
2. Conceal your valuables
Criminals often target homes for small, valuable items that are left in plain sight. Cash, jewellery and watches are the most likely items to be taken if burglars enter your home. Not only are these items untraceable from the moment the criminal leaves your property, but they are also easy to conceal. While some home intruders check common hiding places like under mattresses and inside drawers, hiding your valuables in a concealed safe which is secured to the wall or floor is one of the best ways to keep them away from criminals.
3. Leave the lights on
Turn lights on around your home while you’re out to give the appearance of occupancy. Using smart plugs can be one of the best ways to deter criminals. If movement is detected by your outdoor security cameras or video doorbell, your smart plugs can turn lamps on automatically to give burglars the impression that your property is occupied. You can also use smart plugs as traditional timer switches or stagger the time that they switch on/off.
4. Keep your items safe
If you own high-value items like jewellery, watches and electrical equipment or have ID documents in easy reach, storing them in a home safe can keep them away from thieves. This should be kept in a room other than the bedroom since this is where most criminals search for valuable items and should be bolted to the floor or a wall. Keeping your valuables in a safe at home allows for easy access to your items while protecting them from intruders.
5. Secure your garden
Using tall fencing around the sides and rear of your home can deter criminals. The difficulty of climbing high fences can put off potential intruders. You could also use anti-climb plastic fence spikes or grow thorny plants on a trellis to further deter burglars. It is equally effective to use lower fences at the front of your property, alongside outdoor lighting, so burglars have nowhere to hide.