I used to be a burglar – these 5 common mistakes in your home are putting you at risk of a winter break-in
But one expert warns it could spell doom for you and your home, as the festive period is known as one of the busiest periods for home burglaries – with intruders hoping to catch Brits off guard.
Former burglar-turned-security expert Michael Fraser has revealed the most common home security errors we’re making every day, and has shared tips on how to keep your house safe from intruders.
Michael spoke with tool experts Toolstation, whose research revealed that only 47 per cent of households close their blinds or curtains at night, while a staggering 46 per cent admitted to keeping the house lights on. Meanwhile 16 per cent of people said they left their TV or radio on.
Here, FEMAIL reveals the most common home security errors made by Brits, as well as how to protect your home from would-be burglars, according to the expert…
FEMAIL reveals the most common home security errors made by Brits, as well as how to protect your home from would-be burglars, according to former burglar Michael Fraser (Stock image)
1. Shred or cut up your documents
Many people throw official documents into their outside bins without giving much thought to the important information they could contain – but according to Michael, the wheelie bin is always a target for burglars.
He said: ‘The first thing burglars will do is look through a person’s wheelie bin.
‘They may be able to find documents or advertisements with the homeowner’s name on it and use it to claim their identity.
‘Households must ensure they shred or cut up all documents they throw away’.
2. Inspect windows and door locks
While many homeowners are strict on security at the front of their homes, ensuring their front doors are double locked and even investing in porches, it’s not uncommon to forget about other points of entrance.
‘Most people often only consider what the front of the home looks like to burglars but forget about the back of the home,’ Michael said.
‘Ensure all the windows and doors around the back are obscured, and any valuable items are moved away from the line of vision.
If you take pride in sprucing up your home with some Christmas razzle dazzle, Michael suggests moving valuables away from the window (Stock image)
‘Burglars will also inspect door locks. Cylinder locks appeal more to burglars as they do not hold very well.
‘I would recommend purchasing a deadlock which is much stronger, more robust, and will make burglars less confident about attempting a break in’.
3. Check for weak points of entry
What you might think are air tight security measures for your home could in fact be weak points of entry for a seasoned burglar.
Michael said the age-old ‘Beware of the Dog’ sign no longer does the trick and may actually give way to something more sinister.
In fact, the sign provides more reason for burglars to attempt a break in. Michael explained: ‘When burglars see this sign, they immediately believe the home may have a pet flap and a weakened point of entry.’
4. Place calendars and valuables away from the window
The security expert said intruders often look out for personal and physical calendars as they retain crucial information about your schedule.
‘Whilst a physical calendar may appear harmless, if it is visible from the window then burglars may use it to figure out what days and times the home will be left unattended.
‘I would always recommend closing the calendar when leaving, or at least moving it out of sight’.
Michael said the age-old ‘Beware of the Dog’ sign no longer does the trick and may actually give way to something more sinister (Stock image)
According to a study conducted by Toolstation, 34 per cent of households leave a spare key outside the front door, with people leaving it under a plant pot, buried in soil, or even under a welcome mat. Michael strongly advises against any of these practices.
He said: ‘If you leave a key outside your home it is bound to be found.
‘Burglars will be aware of all the common hiding spots and look for hints within the area, such as fresh soil in a certain spot compared to the rest of the lawn, or a pot which has slightly moved from its ring stain.
‘I would always recommend leaving it with somebody who lives close to you that you can trust’.
5. Travel in secrecy
For homeowners going away on holiday or travelling abroad to see family, Michael suggests a plan of action to keep your home secure while its unoccupied.
He explained: ‘If travelling to the airport by taxi, order it to arrive down the road and don’t provide any information on where you are travelling abroad to.
‘With such a strong social media presence today, it is very easy for burglars to find out people’s locations, so try not to post any holiday snaps until after the trip is complete’.