Don’t ‘fall’ for an opportunistic burglary. Prep your home for the winter months with our security checklist
When autumn arrives, we welcome all the things the season has to offer - colourful leaves, all the festivities and, of course, the clocks going back.
And although we may lose that precious hour of sunlight each year, it’s actually opportunists that often get set to gain from the darker nights. Statistically, when the autumn arrives, us Brits see an immediate spike in burglaries, with recent analysis of home insurance claims proving a link between this surge and the clocks going back1.
But worryingly, homeowners are still largely unaware of the risks that come along at this time of year. A recent survey from National Home Security Month founder and home security expert, Yale, suggested that 62% of Brits are no more concerned about their home security during the winter months than the summer2.
So, with the clocks going back on the horizon, now’s the perfect time to undertake a home security audit, to ensure your home’s protection is up to scratch.
Step 1 – Start with simple security steps
When you’re first making plans to improve the security of your home this autumn, our experts would recommend starting outdoors. The outside of your home should be the first line of defence against burglars and can be a tell-tale sign to thieves if you take your home security seriously.
Starting outside the front of your home, it pays to check if your home is well-lit during the darker nights. A dark exterior allows criminals to operate under the cover of darkness, so keeping the front of your home lit up and visible is essential.
And with only 38% of Brits claiming to be utilising security lighting according to the recent Yale survey2, there’s still a number of homeowners that can look to invest in lights to brighten up the front of their property or use internal lighting on timers to mimic your presence if you are not at home.
Gates surrounding your property are another easy way in which burglars can look to gain access to your home. A broken or rusty gate can signal to a criminal that your home security isn’t up to scratch, and again makes easy access to your front or back garden.
After checking that your gate is in good condition, is a simple, yet effective protection method to upgrade the security of your gates is by investing in padlocks. A maximum security padlock, such as those available from Yale, offer the best protection against a range of attack methods and can also withstand the harsh winter weather conditions here in the UK.
Alongside your gates, you should also ensure that the perimeter of your property is secured with high quality fencing. Broken or missing fence panels can offer easy access to your garden, so it’s worth ensuring these are all replaced and are in good working order to heighten your security this autumn.
Only 40% of Brits revealed that they utilised high fences to improve the protection of their home in Yale’s recent survey2, so homeowners that are looking to boost their home security this season can make this simple fix to protect their property.
And another simple fix to prevent opportunists from easily accessing your home is to ensure any tools or garden equipment left lying around are stored safely away. Whether that’s in a garden shed or secured in your garage, putting these tools out of eyeline of a criminal will ensure your own belongings can’t be used against you. A Shed and Garage alarm (RRP £19.99) from Yale, is a really cost-effective way to protect your garden electricals over the darker months,
Homeowners can also easily step up their garden security by ensuring all hedges, bushes and shrubs are carefully manicured to make sure burglars don’t use them as a way to skulk around their garden. Low hanging branches should be cut or removed to prevent people climbing over fencing, and hawthorn bushes are a great addition to prevent opportunists from vying for your home.
Step 2 – Lock it up
Once you have prepared the outside of your home to protect against criminals, it’s also essential to ensure that all the locks around your home are in good working order.
From door to window locks to padlocks on sheds and garages, there are plenty of locations around the home that require attention to minimise the risk of an opportunistic attack.
Starting at the front door, homeowners should ensure that their cylinder is up to scratch to offer significant protection against a range of attack methods. The front door is a key point of entry for most opportunistic criminals, so it’s important that this area of the home is securely protected.
When choosing a cylinder for your front door, our experts would recommend opting for a 3 Star Cylinder, which clearly has the 3-star seal of approval on the face of the cylinder. A 3-star cylinder offers the highest level of protection against a range of known cylinder attack methods and clearly shows to opportunists that a front door is securely protected.
Homeowners should also check that their window locks are in good working order, whilst also ensuring that they stay locked at all times – particularly at night and when they leave the house.
Step 3 – Go outdoors
Alongside the protection of our windows and doors, it’s also essential that homeowners prioritise protecting their garages, sheds and outbuildings.
And you’ll be pleased to know protecting the spaces outside of your home is very simple. Starting with traditional security products, it’s essential that sheds and garages are locked up securely with maximum security padlocks to protect their contents.
In a recent survey, only 15% of Brits said that keeping their garage secure is a big security concern for them2. But with the space containing thousands of pounds worth of tools and outdoor equipment, it’s well worth investing in its protection.
To step up the security of your outbuildings the smart way, you could also consider investing in security cameras, or a CCTV system, to ensure that you can check in on the front of your property or garden from anywhere at any time.
The smart security cameras on the market today allow for remote monitoring of the home via a smartphone, ensuring that homeowners can easily check in via an app to see what’s going on in and around their home.
According to recent statistics, only 20% of Brits utilise CCTV cameras in their gardens2. But as they are also a great deterrent to stop opportunists from targeting a property, our experts would highly recommend more homeowners make the investment ahead of the clocks going back.
Step 4 – Step inside to secure your home
Once you’ve secured the front of your home and garden, you’ll have already put a strong barrier of protection to secure your property against thieves. But, in the rare case that an opportunist can get past these security measures, it’s also worth protecting the inside of your home too.
One of the best security investments you can make to the home is by adding a smart alarm to your property. A smart alarm, like Yale’s Sync Smart Home Alarm range, will allow you to not only protect your home, but also your shed or any outbuildings , with a 200m range allowing you to protect all areas of your property.
Alongside mobile notifications when the alarm is triggered and remote control via a smartphone, a smart home alarm is a great addition to allow homeowners to monitor their home and garden anywhere at any time.
You could also consider opting for indoor security cameras too. These handy ‘plug and play’ products allow users to monitor any room in their home via their smartphone – a useful gadget to allow for remote monitoring of your belongings and pets.
Step 5 – Everybody needs good neighbours
Although smart security systems including smart alarms and CCTV are great additions to allow for remote surveillance of your home, it’s true that we can’t always be there to keep a close eye on our properties.
Which is why it’s a great idea to have your neighbours on side, as they’ll be sure to check out any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood to protect their own homes too.
In some cases, you can join Neighbourhood Watch schemes in your local area. This can ensure that you are protecting your home and other residents, with an aim to reduce crime rates and monitor any suspicious activity in the area.
And for more information, advice and top security tips to protect your home as the clocks go back, be sure to download our Checklist below, or visit www.YaleHome.co.uk.
1Churchill Home Insurance, 2021
2A poll of 2000 UK Adults (Nationally Representative) run by OnePoll, commissioned by Yale UK, 2022