Autumn Burglary in Doncaster
Just when it seemed Halloween couldn’t get scarier, we’ve now got a general election on the horizon too. And not that I want to worry you further, but the results are due on Friday 13th. So that’s something to look forward to. Throw in the explosions of bonfire night, not forgetting the looming spectre of Christmas not far off, and it could be quite a stressful couple of months.
Now far be it for me to add to that stress, but I’m afraid that this time of year brings about additional issues for home security. Insurance claims rocket, pun slightly intended, in this period between the end of October and December, doubling on Bonfire night itself, and also seeing a significant spike around Halloween. The clocks have just gone back, so darkness is falling a lot earlier, and it is prime season for evening burglaries. Sadly, I’ve seen the human impact of this for myself over the last few weeks as I’ve been called to the aftermath of dozens of burglaries, especially in the Doncaster area. It’s not only the practicalities of replacing locks and fixing broken doors, it’s also seeing the emotional impact that each burglary has on the victim, and that can last long after the house has been made secure.
So with the added risks that this time of year brings, I thought now was as good a time as any to try and pass on a few tips that can be followed to reduce the risk of you becoming a victim of an Autumn burglary.
Let’s deal with the dark nights first. As opposed to the Dark Knight, which is a different kettle of fish altogether, though I’m sure Batman would be totally on board with any fight against criminality, even if we’re not in Gotham City. Burglars love darkness as it allows them to go about their business in the shadows, aware from the public glare. And in Autumn, these dark nights can start as early as half four or five, sometimes before the householder even gets in from work. I would strongly recommend investing in an external security light. This can either be a dusk to dawn model, or a motion activated device – both will light up any attempt at breaking in and reveal it to any passing motorists or neighbours. A decent light can be purchased from as little as ten to twenty pounds, which is not a vast amount considering the peace of mind it can bring.
If you’re installing an exterior light, you may as well kill two birds with one stone, and put up a burglar alarm box too. Whilst I’d always recommend a comprehensive, properly serviced system, I appreciate that can be quite the outlay of cash at this time of year coming up to Christmas. If this is the case, even a dummy alarm box can be an effective deterrent. Getting a model with lights on makes it difficult for burglars to differentiate between a dummy box and a real one. And with plenty of other houses around, they’re more likely not to take the risk and leave your home alone, moving on to the next target.
One thing you don’t generally spot on a darkening November night is a burglar making their way down the street laden with a big bag of tools and encumbered by the weight of a ladder. Two reasons for this – one, it’s not that easy to explain away to any police officer that might happen to pass by, and secondly it’s a tad inconvenient lugging all that around, plus slows down any potential getaway. Given this, housebreakers like to utilities whatever is available at the property in order to assist their break-in. So please ensure any ladders and tools are shut away in a locked garage and shed so that they can’t be used against your property.
It may be dark outside, but inside it’ll be light – unless, that is, you’re sitting in the back room with all the lights out to avoid any trick or treaters. You may not be able to see what’s going on outside your window in the dark outdoors but rest assured, if your curtains or blinds are open, then anyone outside can look straight into your home. Whilst this may be an issue should you like to wander around your house naked, that’s not the issue here and of no concern of mine…honestly! However, please watch out for what else you may have on display – items such as mobile phones, laptops and the like are very attractive to burglars as they can easily be carried away and sold on, so leaving them in direct sight is a temptation it’s best not to dangle in front of any passing thieves.
Lastly, a couple of digital steps you can take. Firstly, and related to the above tip about phones and laptops, do make sure that you password protect all your devices where possible. Having your phone or laptop stolen is bad enough, but if the thief than has access to all your personal data, that can escalate the problem to identity theft, bank fraud, and all manner of further crimes that will cause you extra hassle. Password protecting your phone and laptop is a simple step that can prevent these further violations occurring.
Secondly, and I’ve covered this topic before in relation to summer holidays, please do not advertise on social media the fact you’re away from the house at Bonfire displays or Halloween or Christmas parties. Burglars are digitally savvy these days, and use Facebook and Twitter to seek out houses that are empty – a photo of you and your family at a firework display is a pretty clear sign that yours will be. By all means post photos when you return to your house, but if you can resist for the couple of hours you’re out of the house, it can make all the difference.
Hope you’ve found those tips useful, and that they help ensure the only unsolicited callers at your house over the next month will be trick or treaters and political campaigners. Because let’s face it, they’re scary enough as it is. For advice on anything lock-related, or to enquire about repairs or replacements, call 01302 378067.