Five common home security mistakes

31 May 2016

Five simple things that could make your home more attractive to thieves or let a burglar know that your house is empty.

Keeping your home safe and secure is about more than just installing a burglar alarm and locking your doors. 

Here are five simple mistakes that could make your home more attractive to thieves… and our tips to avoid them.  

1. Leaving valuables in view of your windows

This is an old piece of advice and one which is pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t give this a second thought.

Leaving valuable items on your window sills or within view of the street can be simply too tempting for some people.

Where possible, keep valuables out of sight and never leave an open ground-floor door/window unattended.

If your home can be easily peered into from the street, it may be worth investing in some net curtains or blinds to shield your belongings from view.

2. Failing to cancel deliveries before going away

Getting away for a few days is something we all look forward to. To ensure that you don’t return home to a nasty shock, you should try to make your home look as lived in as possible.

A stack of daily newspapers sticking out of your letterbox and a number of unopened milk bottles on your front step is the perfect advertisement for your absence. 

If you can, pause your deliveries until you get back, and ask a trusted friend or neighbour to keep an eye out for you.

3. Making your home too private

We all cherish our privacy, and if you live on a street with a lot of other houses on it, you may want fencing or hedges around your property to block out nosy neighbours.

This can also make your home more attractive to burglars because it blocks them from the view of your neighbours when they’re trying to break in.

Make sure you have working outdoor lighting (sensor activated if possible) and the foliage around your home is not too tall or dense.

4. Leaving tools/ladders in your garden

People tend to think that their rear gardens are safer and more secure than their front gardens, and in many cases they would be correct. However, just because your rear garden is fenced or less accessible than the front, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily secure.

You wouldn’t leave a ladder or tools lying in your front garden, so the same rules should apply to the rear.

Burglars have been known to jump into rear gardens and use ladders/tools/gardening equipment to break into the main property, essentially using the homeowner’s belongings against them.

Tidy ladders and gardening equipment away into a secure shed or lock box, and ensure your garden has a good basic level of security.

For more tips and useful information, browse our money articles.

5. Hiding a spare key outside

Many of us are guilty of forgetting or losing our keys, so keeping a spare in a secret place outside the home has become a common ‘solution’. However, thieves have cottoned onto this method and can be extremely skilled at knowing where a key has been stashed away.

Putting a key under the doormat, taping it to the inside of the letterbox, or hiding it under a rock in the front garden is simply not good enough.

If a burglar finds the key, he/she can simply let themselves in and out of your home undetected — it may even take you some time to realise anything is missing. If you must keep a spare key outside the home, leave it with a trusted and responsible neighbour.

This article was written by the experts at Evander, who offer a free security survey to help homeowners find the right security solutions for their property.

Saga Home Insurance provides cover that goes beyond what you might expect. For more information and to get a quote click here.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.