74% of thieves walk in through the front door - here's how to stay safe during the darker nights
As winter draws ever closer, the frequency of home robberies typically rises, with thieves taking advantage of the dark evenings.
Shockingly, as many as 74 per cent of thieves manage to walk in through the front door, according to new research.
The study (carried out by MoneySuperMarket) found that 66 per cent of Brits fail to hide their valuables in their home, while as much as a third of Brits don't bother to double lock their back doors.
The most commonly stolen items
The study revealed purses, wallets and money as the most commonly stolen items, with thieves taking these in as many as 42 per cent of cases, year-on-year.
Cash is more likely to be taken over heavier items like laptops and computers, particularly as more than half of British homeowners fail to hide their valuables.
Other commonly stolen items include jewellery and watches, with these being taken in 31 per cent of cases.
Christmas is a common time for robberies
Security risks are particularly high during the run-up to Christmas, and thieves take advantage of weak security measures and dark evenings to break into homes.
Make sure to secure your doors and don't leave keys in view (Photo: Shutterstock)
However, the study did highlight that Brits are taking precautions to minimise the risk of theft, with the following revealed as the most popular security measures:
Window locks – 90%Double locks or deadlocks – 84%Light timers or sensors – 56%Security chains or bolts - 34%Burglar alarms – 32%
Nonetheless, despite 32 per cent having burglar alarms, only one in 10 people said they would alert the police as their first response to hearing an alarm, calling the effectiveness of this security measure into question.
In fact, 58 per cent said their first response would be merely to look out of the window.
This study highlights the need to establish more stringent security measures at home, particularly as the nights grow darker.
West Midlands Police advise taking the following precautions to protect your home during this period:
"Dark evenings can provide perfect cover for a sneak-in burglar who spots an open window in an unoccupied room, sees your valuables through open curtains or blinds, or tries their luck with an unlocked door while you’re distracted by fireworks.
"Don’t leave your house and vehicle keys in the lock or on a side table in view of a window making it easy for a thief to fish them through your letterbox.
"Don’t leave items in open porches that could be used to enter your home, for example, curved-handled umbrellas to open doors or keys through letterboxes.
"Always lock your front door from inside - in particular UPVC front doors that have handles, as they are often left unlocked when people are in their house.
"Secure UPVC doors by fitting a snap resistant cylinder lock, certified to TS007 standard. Accredited locksmiths can advise on recommended products.
"Cancel newspapers and milk if you’re going away for a few days and ask a trusted friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your property, pushing post sticking out of the letterbox inside fully."