Don't be caught out by opportunistic burglars taking advantage of the warm weather - that's the message to homeowners from North Yorkshire Police this summer.
Although the county has one of the lowest rates of burglaries in the UK, sneak-in burglaries can increase during the summer months, as thieves gain access to properties through insecure doors and windows.
According to the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), in incidents of domestic burglary where the offender has entered the home, they gained entry through an unlocked door 21% of the time; by forcing the lock on a door in 19% of cases; or by breaking or cutting a panel in the door (12%). 11% of burglars gained access through an open window.
Not surprisingly, 83% of people who had been burgled said they had been emotionally affected, of those 26% said they had been ‘very much’ affected by what had happened.
However, taking a few simple measures such as locking your windows and doors, making sure all valuables are out of sight and tidying away tools can significantly reduce the chances of your home being broken into or not.
Police Investigator Dave Pegg, who is one of the force’s Burglary Coordinators, said:
“It’s been a strange 2020 so far and understandably, people are excited to make the most of being able to see friends and family again, spending time outside and even going away. However, with this, burglars may take advantage of people leaving their homes empty, especially in the warmer weather.
“Any burglary can be devastating for the victims – or, at the very least, cause huge inconvenience – so it’s important that residents do everything possible to keep the burglars at bay. Good-quality doors, windows and locks are excellent deterrents, but there’s even more you can do to stop burglars in their tracks.
“We will be sharing our top tips and advice throughout summer to help protect your property and make your home as secure from burglars as possible.
“You can play your part by checking your home security and also the home security of loved ones, especially if they are vulnerable. Please also look out for your neighbours and report and suspicious activity to 101. Always, dial 999 if you are in danger or see a crime in action.”
Here, Investigator Pegg has shared ten quick, cheap and easy steps you can take to improve your home security this Summer.
Keep them out of view: Make sure all valuables and keys, including car keys, are out of sight and away from the view of windows and the letterbox – remember a device could be used to hook keys through the letterbox.
Keep them locked: Leaving ground floor windows, doors and patio doors open in the summer can give burglars the perfect opportunity. If you are upstairs, out of the room, or in the garden, even just for a few minutes, keep them locked and help shut burglars out.
Pay attention: Pay particular attention when you’re outside in your garden, as you may not be able to see or hear someone entering your home.
Tidy away tools: Ensure sheds, garages and outbuildings are locked and secure at all times – tidy away power tools and garden equipment after you’ve used them, don’t leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home.
Burglar-proof your bikes: Secure bikes at home by locking them to an immovable object inside a locked shed or garage.
Check access to windows: Burglars often target windows as they generally offer easier access than doors. Take a good look at your windows from the outside and remove potential access points where you can. Are there walls, bins or garden furniture that could be used to reach windows?
Give burglars nowhere to hide: Burglars don’t want to be seen or heard and if they think they’ll be noticed by a neighbour or passer-by, they’ll probably move on. Cut back hedges at the front of your property to allow for a clear view over the top and don’t provide cover for anyone wishing to hide and make sure your security lights are working.
Gates and fences: Make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition, especially rear fencing and ensure side gates are locked to prevent access to the rear of the property.
Going away or on holiday? Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property and leave radios or lights in your house on a timer to make the property appear occupied.
Mark your property: Did you know we offer free property marking to all residents of North Yorkshire? Get your property marked and registered with our free property marking system
For more home security advice, speak to your local police team, or visit northyorkshire.police.uk/homesecurity
Or follow the #SaferNorthYorkshire hashtag on the force’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for regular burglary prevention tips throughout the summer.
For the latest ‘Nature of crime: burglary figures’ please visit the Office of National Statistics’ website.Last modified: July 13, 2020