Data from the Office for National Statistics shows a nine per cent rise in reported burglaries in 2017 compared to the year before. Worryingly, the same report reveals that the number of criminal charges faced by offenders has dropped by 33%, indicating that thieves are becoming more brazen and are less likely to be caught.
There is also increasing evidence that thieves are using a range of new technologies to target and plan burglaries. Reports of drone misuse to the Police soared by 352% in just one year, with Suffolk Police citing specific reports of drones being used to survey homes. Likewise, Police speculate that Google’s Street View and Earth applications which provide detailed imagery of homes and gardens are being used by professional burglars.
Home security now starts with the exterior
Conventional home security deterrents such as high fences, walls and tall trees are less effective when burglars know in advance exactly what is behind them. This makes sheds, garages, ponds, outdoor furniture and any exterior area where vehicles are kept on the property more vulnerable to theft and vandalism. Pathways or poorly lit areas can be identified in advance by thieves to aid them in their plans to burgle the house itself.
The good news is that homeowners can take action to reduce the risk of being burgled. What’s necessary is to disregard traditional concepts of home security where the focus is on the perimeter and entry points. By redefining outdoor security as the first line of defence, and employing smart technologies, home owners can take the fight back to the criminals.
Here’s a range of practical low and hi-tech tips to help to boost home security:
- Trellis fencing and prickly hedges: High fences are hard to climb, make them harder by having a trellis on top. Prickly bushes protecting the boundaries are also recommended. Place prickly bushes under windows.
- Gravel driveways: Don’t underestimate the deterrent of a gravel drive, it’s noisy no matter what the weather conditions are or what time it is.
- Well-kept lawns: If you have long grass in the garden it could tell a burglar that the property is empty or that you and your family are away on holiday.
- Take toys & garden tools inside: Expensive toys or bicycles left around the driveway or on the lawn are tempting prizes for opportunist thieves. To more seasoned burglars they are indicative that greater wealth resides inside the home.
- Locked side gates: Make sure a side gate is locked and brace it by keeping wheelie bins behind it.
- Quality storage sheds: Invest in a sturdy windowless shed secured with deadbolt locks to keep your outdoor possessions safe and out of sight.
- Anchor bicycles and motorbikes: If your bike is stored in a shed or garage, use a heavy-duty lock to secure it to something heavy and immobile. For motorcycles, engage the steering lock, use a disc lock and keep it under a cover to make it less attractive.
- Convex mirrors in blind spots: Convex mirrors also make great visibility enhancers for you and your neighbours. Place them at external corners of the property to help eliminate blind spots and deter thieves.
- Remove property from Google Street Maps: Locate your house on Street View, click “send feedback” at the bottom right of the screen. You’ll be redirected to a form titled “report inappropriate Street View”. Here you can request that you want your house blurred along with any other sensitive content such as car licence plates.
- Smart outdoor video home security system: Blink’s wireless, weatherproof night-vision outdoor cameras can be placed anywhere on the property in range of the Blink hub, making it perfect for protecting parked vehicles, garages, sheds and exterior areas.
- Smart lighting and motion detectors: Make sure your lighting is smart, by integrating it with other IOT (internet of things) services. Blink includes infrared or regular illumination options when motion is detected and sends you a video clip alert.
- Video Security Protection notices: If you have a video security system at home (or even if you don’t) display your security service on the outside of your house.
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