12 quick tips to reduce the risk of a burglary at your home

Burglaries are not just opportunistic crimes

1. What does the home burglary threat look like

Our home is our castle, as with any castle we should make it as safe as we can for us and our loved ones, the number one reported concern for homeowners when talking about feeling protected and being safe in their home, was the risk of burglary. The Office for National Statistics provided a report into various types of crime for The Crime in England and Wales Commission. The report stated that the number of reported residential burglaries in 2019 stood at 417,416, which is represents a relative 4% drop year on year.

From a reporting and analytics standpoint this may seem ok, but the reality is there are victims in every one of these individual cases who have suffered loss, as well as mental and potential physical harm and life changing experiences, these experience may require insurances, loss of irreplaceable items, special treatment, rehabilitation and even surgery. This represents the direct impact that being burgled can have on victim’s lives. Whilst we can’t ever stop the evolution of residential burglaries reports suggest the group responsible for largest share of burglaries are a small amount of career or serial burglars, representing the next category of burglars, and a small than the above, are opportunistic burglars and burglary thrill seekers, fewer domestic burglaries are by organized criminal gangs who tend to operating more sophisticated burglary practices on businesses with high value assets. What are the kinds of things a homeowner can do to reduce the risk of being burgled. Well the list is not exhaustive, from high-end private security personnel covertly or overtly protecting your home, to a security fortress setup like Fort Knox. In this blog we will try to focus on some of the more practical homeowner care, safety methods, security practices and products that can help to improve your home’s safety, your safety and that of your families and loved ones.

Number of police recorded burglary offences in England and Wales from 2002/03 to 2020/21


graph showing evolution of burglaries 2002 to 2020 Engalnd and Wales
source statista fig. 1.0

2. Responsible security product brands have a history of reliability, use them

The first one should be no surprise, in helping to prevent a burglary, choose a reliable home safety and security system; some manufacturers and suppliers, like ADT and YALE are well known in the marketplace for providing comprehensive home and private security technology. With the advancement of technology, the market has not only been opened up to new players; but also allowed existing players to offer more technologically integrated solutions and expand their product portfolios to service both surveillance, real-time feeds to mobiles, motion activation all to help reduce the risk of your property being burgled

3. Digital visual technology


picture of several similar CCTV cameras

It can be noted that burglary as a crime has decline overtime in the England and wales, based on the graph this is due t a combination of things. This includes, but is not limited to a combination of activities by law abiding actors to prevent the risk of burglary or promote deterrents that are visual and connected through technology ensuring real time identification and allowing for remote alarm and response.

- More policing focused on burglary as a targeted and opportunistic crime

- Police cracked down on the trade of stolen goods and networks that facilitate this

- Career burglars and reoffenders, are given rehabilitation support to reduce the risk of them re-offending

- Tougher sentencing has been implemented depending on the severity of the burglary, associated method, victim(s) impact and the accused mental state, history, health and explanation

- Police have made community policing more visual, with community patrols and officers on the beat, ensuring communities know they are being protected with local policing.

- Police are using ,ore technology i.e. CCTV, AI, central monitoring, tracking of offenders, etc., to ensure that crimes are predicted and prevented, or rapidly responded to in real time

- Use of DNA testing has increased the rate of identifying a perpetrator through indelible evidence, collected from the scene and supporting a conviction

- Technology companies are offering surveillance equipment for the home connected to real time support and analysis, mobiles or tablets, this helps identification and prevention of crime

- Technology companies are making high value digital products useless once stolen, with security protocols that are initiated in certain scenarios, or pre-empted as a mandate or both. This makes theft less appealing as the resulting product is useless to the thief or anyone else, other than the legitimate owner

Hi definition CCTV for perimeter and internal monitoring. Video or CCTV monitoring solutions on doorbells, that connect to your phone all provide additional security monitoring that can prevent the risk of a burglary at your property or home. Real time monitoring and alert solutions. reduce the risk of a burglary at your home by up to 90%, Additionally this technology can connect to an infrastructure, which is linked to Home wireless burglar alarms which are digitally connected (depending on spend) to police alert systems, private security response teams, all with they can include a response the intent on being at the scene of a suspected burglary, and preventing the incident from getting worse, or even apprehending the suspects as well as protecting personal, equipment, property and valuable items.

Smart home video doorbells (like RING) that are automatically triggered when movement occurs at the door and are connected to a homeowners smartphone device, are accessible anywhere so homeowners, and are a affordable deterrent for burglaries, vandalism, or threats. Owners of the solution can see who is outside their home at any time, as well as communicate with them via their phone to the intercom, from almost any location. They can also connect with delivery and postal people who may need to contact the homeowner, when they are not at home. This aids in the continuation of supply and the delivery of needed products for the homeowner. Preventing burglaries, can also be supported by admissible evidence, such as the recording of the crime in progress by the suspect, and identifying things unique to the suspect that can without reasonable doubt place a suspect at a scene, at a given time. This kind of data and meta data, stored and presents, can show a sequence of events and timings, that took place, if a burglary occurred. All these products and connected solutions are a huge deterrent to any type of burglar given that they can now be more readily identified, authorities alerted all within a short space of time. It’s best to have a tradesperson sales consultant from one of the main firms to draw up a proposal, which matches your budget and needs before proceeding to purchasing home burglary prevention equipment, as well as installation and signing up to a contract. If you really are on a tight budget, then consider a DIY solution, they are more affordable but equally act as a prevention as there is no easy way for a burglar to determine the extent of the architecture and the type of solution you have.

4. Access monitoring

Products like a home window alarms, which will activate in the event of a breaking or forced entry, alerting neighbors and eventually authorities also are excellent for deterring burglaries, and the risk of home burglary. They are built on a circuit and if the circuit is disrupted or destroyed, will be able to alert, alarm and force awareness to the incident.

5. Kite marques

Yale also provides smart lock handle products in the form of their connected range, these use wireless technology and are linked to the homeowner smartphone app, they act as a digital key, which when scanned on the handle retina, providing the key matches the security protocol, the handle can be levered to allow entry, this is emerging technology so it may well be best to get a serious review and some kind of guarantee from the professional tradesperson or trade supplier offering digital locks, just in case there is the risk the technology fails.

6. Keep medicines out of view

Some of the less known deterrents include storing medicines i.e. prescription opioids, painkillers etc. In a place that you can access, but also, not to discuss these in public or around people you don’t know, burglars are looking for particular prescribed medication as they can turn it into cash easily, these medicines then makes their way to addicts or can be used as agents in creating illegal drugs, fuelling the illegal drug economy in the UK.

7. Limit your social publications

Another important aspect is to be careful what you share on social media, don’t share anything that can compromise you or your family. This includes your movements e.g. announcing when and where you are going on vacation and for how long.

8. Office alerts

If you put office alerts on keep them simple, I am out of the office returning date. Do not include the word vacation as a spammer can send an email, and if the word vacation appears you can be a prospect for a burglary, as the immediate assumption is you are on holiday and not at home.

9. Geo-tagging may not always be your friend

Turn geo-tagging or any tracking apps off. Particularly for peer-to-peer buying platforms like eBay, Gumtree.com etc., burglars can identify your location through apps sharing information with the platform and making this visible, not to mention the item you are selling, making you a prospective mark for burglary.

10. Security walks at every key moment

Make sure you include a routine of locking the windows and doors, every night; or when leaving your property. Setting alarms and checking systems are functioning correctly.

11. Have a security procedure for when you are on vacation

If you are on vacation, have a trusted neighbor or family member pop over occasionally just to check on your property, but with technology at your fingertips this makes for double the risk prevention. If you see someone acting suspicious at your front door, or on the perimeter CCTV, alert the police particularly if they are doing something they shouldn’t or in a place they shouldn’t around your property also see point 7. don't publish vacations details until you return.

Talking of property you can have lights and devices activated at home, simulating occupancy in the home. Ensure the technology is reliable and the process has a human feel to it.

12. Ordering for delivery from E-commerce businesses

Do not order any amazon, or any other web delivery products while you are away, as deliveries can be stolen from outside your property or a stored place on your property, if product deliveries build up in a stored place this is a big indication that as a homeowner you are not their, and increase the risk of burglary.

Summary

In summary, we may not be able to stop burglars from being in our areas, but there are significant technological products, preventative measures and processes homeowners can undertake that will significantly reduce the risk of being burgled and essentially burglar proof your home

We hope these tips can help you with your projects and help you on your way to securing your property. You may also want to read our blogs, How to find a builder which guides you through finding a builder and Hire a builder which helps you understand how to hire a builder with technology, but also in the traditional way.


About the Author

Tom Cakebread
Hi, I'm Tom I enjoy writing about the trades, and supporting tradespeople and customers where I can as an independent consultant.