Leaving your home empty? A security expert reveals the safety tips you need to employ

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  Posted by: electime      9th January 2023

Research by Toolstation reveals the security measures Brits should follow to help prevent burglaries

  • A quarter (25 per cent) of Brits do not feel confident leaving their homes empty for an extended period time
  • The crime rate of burglaries increases by 17 per cent during the winter months in the UK (December, January, February)
  • An expert offers their top tips for securing the home while away, including not posting on social media and making sure any spare keys are out of sight

House security is an important factor to consider for any homeowner, but particularly during the darker winter months when the risk of home burglary increases.

To analyse house security across the UK, Toolstation analysed data from Police Forces to gather burglary crime statistics from 2019-2022. Toolstation also conducted a nationwide survey of 2,000 Brits into their behaviours and attitudes towards home security and burglary prevention.

Wintertime vs summertime

As expected, the longer and lighter nights during spring and summer can be a deterrent for burglars.

Comparing the summer (June, July, August) crime statistics to the winter (December, January, February), winter sees an increase of 17 per cent more home burglaries across the UK, so extra precautions should be taken in these darker months.

During the summer months, almost three quarters (73 per cent) of Brits feel confident in leaving their home empty for an extended period such as a holiday. During the winter months, this decreases by 5 per cent to just 68 per cent who feel confident.

When it comes to wintertime, a quarter (25 per cent) of Brits do not feel confident at all leaving their homes empty for an extended period of time.

To try and save money, nearly half of Brits (46 per cent) are altering their security habits. One in five (22 per cent) say they will no longer be leaving a light on when nobody is home, while more than one in ten (15 per cent) will be turning off all their main external lights.

Expert recommendations for increased house security

Beth Priestley, security expert from Toolstation, recommends that homeowners adopt the following security measures:

  1. Light up any driveway and garden with motion sensor lights – it’s not economical to have exterior lights on all night, but by having them on sensors, they can be activated to alert to any movement.
  2. Have a visual security system – having a visible security alarm on the exterior of a house is more likely to deter intruders rather than it being hidden inside the property.
  3. Safely store spare keys out of sight – our research found one in 10 Brits hide their spare key underneath a plant pot or doormat, while this is an obvious place for thieves to look. A key safe is the best option for storing a spare key outside. For keys inside the house, don’t leave any in view of a window or door, instead hidden away hooks are a better option.
  4. Install a video doorbell – not only are these smart home devices useful for when homeowners are away on holiday, but they also come in use for day-to-day use as individuals are able to see who is at the door, from the postman to a nosy neighbour.
  5. Don’t post on social media – while many Brits love to shout about their holidays, this is also advertising an empty home to a wide audience of people. The safer option is to wait until you’re home before posting those holiday snaps.

Find more information on Brit’s security measures and the safest cities in the UK here: https://www.toolstation.com/content/safest-cities-in-the-uk