Don’t be left haunted as the clocks go back. Frightening new research reveals home burglaries increase by a third around this time of the year.
With Halloween and Bonfire Night more people venture out in the evenings, meaning homes can be an easy target. Therefore home security needs to be prioritised, to deter opportunists operating under a cloak of darkness. Thankfully ex-Scotland Yard Detective, of 20 years, and former star of Channel 4’s ‘Hunted’, Peter Bleksley, has worked with B&Q to share advice for making homes more secure.
‘It’s important to protect your home all year round, but it’s a fact that burglaries spike in winter months as longer nights give greater cover of darkness’ says Peter. ‘This is not an exercise in scaremongering, but a reminder that we all need to take control of our home security, and keep up to date with the latest advice to keep our homes safe.’
Peter Bleksley’s top tips for a safer home
1. Look at your home as an outsider
‘We can quickly become immune to weaknesses in our security and, unless you land yourself in the tricky situation of having to find a way in after being locked out, it’s unlikely you’ll truly look at your home the way an intruder might. Save yourself the drama of simulating a ‘lock out’ and have a friend or neighbour look around the outside of your home and see if they can spot any easy ways in, you might be surprised by what they come up with.’
2. Keep an eye on your home using tech
‘Invest in smart security cameras that can connect to a smartphone, tablet or camera so you can see and hear what’s happening inside and outside of your house, when you are not at home. Some can be as sophisticated as having motion-triggered recording, infrared night vision, and two-way audio communication capability.’
3. Install a smart bell
‘A smart video doorbell is a great idea as it lets you view, listen and speak to visitors even when you’re not at home. They are also handy if you want to check who is at your door before you answer.’
4. Shed some light on the situation
‘Invest in smart outdoor lighting. Intruders like to operate under cover of darkness so having sensor lighting outside your home is a brilliant deterrent.’
5. Hide your alarm key pad
‘Installing a home security system is a great deterrent, but it isn’t fool-proof. Most people install their alarm key pads by the front or back door for quick and easy access, which makes sense, but when you’re placing it in such a visible area, burglars may be able to peak in to see whether it has been activated or not. My advice would be to conceal your alarm key pad so that it isn’t visible from outside and can’t be immediately located if someone were to get in.’
6. Let ‘Mother Nature’ lend a hand
‘Not all home security has to make your home look like a fortress. A beautiful yet thorny rose bush planted underneath the window can do wonders to deter unwanted guests. Installing a gravel drive is a simple yet effective way to ensure that you are alerted to the sound of someone approaching the house who shouldn’t be.’
7. Secure the car
‘Our cars are one of the highest value items we have around our homes. We might not all have the luxury of a garage, but driveway security posts or bollards can act as both a visual and physical deterrent. Oh and don’t leave your keys in plain sight. Having them by the front door might be convenient during the morning rush, but it’s also convenient for unsavoury characters who might like to relieve you or your ride.’
Buy now: Autolok Parking Post, £87, B&Q
8. Don’t hide valuables in the master bedroom
‘The master bedroom is known by burglars as the room where valuables are kept. Just picture your own bedroom right now… jewellery, cash, credit cards and personal documents like passports in the bedside table? And no doubt a smart handbag or two in the wardrobe. We need to all be savvier than that. If you must keep cash in the house, then stash it somewhere unexpected like the top cupboard of your child’s bedroom. Or in a safe that is secured inside an unassuming cupboard or under the floorboards. Another top tip is to install a decoy safe somewhere more obvious, throwing burglars completely off their track.
Thanks to Peter and B&Q we can all feel a little less haunted during the witching hour this year.