How to keep your home safe during lockdown

With everyone at home during lockdown, it may be tempting to relax attitudes to home security. And there has been a 28% drop in crime in general.

However, with Police and Neighbourhood Watch Teams, urging caution on increases in delivery scams and parcel thefts, alongside regionalised increases in organised acquisitive crime, we are not completely safe.

Here’s some tips on how to keep your home safe during the lockdown.

Lock up
We often think that burglaries are pre-organised and there is nothing we can do to stop the awful event from happening, but that simply isn’t true. It’s a common misconception that burglaries are always meticulously planned.

In reality, 47 percent of UK burglaries are ‘spur-of-the-moment’ or opportunist. They can occur in an 8 – 12 minute window from intent to get away!

With this in mind, especially with the summer approaching, back to basic security tips, like lock up are essential. And this is for all windows, doors and back gates.

Keeping everything locked makes it difficult for thieves, who want to enter and leave as quickly as possible, unnoticed. They are less likely to target your home, the harder you make it to get in!

Hide the goods
Leaving valuables in plain sight is another way to attract thieves and definitely makes it simpler for an opportunist thief to strike and be off in seconds.

Burglars will often weigh up the rewards on offer against the risk of being caught. If they are easy to see, or reach, then it’s a quick win. And this especially applies to leaving car keys, wallets or expensive gadgets within reach of the front door, or letterbox.

Clear The Garden
Thank goodness of the sunshine we have been experiencing in lockdown! But gardens are often a blind spot for homeowners and we tend to leave valuable belongings outside in the summer months.

It’s common for bicycles or expensive garden tools to be stolen, so make sure these are secured in a safe location, like a garage or locked shed.

And don’t forget now is the ideal time to keep our gardens tidy. Overgrown hedges are perfect places for thieves to hide or make their getaway.

Switch up your routine
While many burglaries are spontaneous, some criminals do take the premeditated route, planning their activity and part of the strategy is knowing the victim’s routine. They’ll often scout out a property for weeks, learning behaviour patterns like exercise and working routines, looking for their window of opportunity to strike.

Under current lockdown rules, falling into a predictable routine can be inevitable and could be picked up by someone scouting your property.

So, where possible, try to shake up your daily schedule – for example, by switching between morning and evening exercise walks.

Be wary of what you post online
Are your social media accounts on private? And do you really know everyone who has access to view your profiles? The answer is probably no.

Your posts could be giving potential burglars the information they need to successfully break in to your home, especially with regards to your routine!

Be careful about what you’re posting on social media. When it comes to protecting your home, you don’t want to give anything away to burglars.

Using real-time ‘stories’ to post activity like outdoor exercise breaks on social media lets potential burglars know when you’re away from home. So maybe save your posts to when you get home. And check your security settings.

Delivery Scams
Hertfordshire Constabulary especially has sent out a number of communications regarding homeowners receiving unexpected deliveries.

Victims reported receiving packages containing goods they had not ordered. A short while later a woman wearing a DPD courier uniform arrived to collect the packages, claiming they had been delivered to the wrong address. The packages contained either iPhones or laptops and had been despatched by AO.

The advice is to beware of taking receipt of any parcels that have not been directly ordered, and especially not to sign for anything in these circumstances. If you refuse to accept it, it should go back to the depot or the sender.

Remember, just because they are in a uniform, does not mean they are who they claim.

Invest in Security
The most obvious deterrent remains branded security systems around your home. About 60% of thieves will avoid homes with a visible intruder alarm. And many more will think twice if CCTV is installed.

Obvious security features will put off any perspective thief, because they will be aware the technology might send an alert to the owner’s phone to let them know they are being burgled.

The footage also acts as potential recorded evidence that will go against them in court and get them prosecuted.

Other highly recommended devices include smart video doorbells, which can also help Police and Neighbourhood Watch to capture any wrong-doing, whether around your home or often in a neighbour’s property too.

During lockdown, there are many reasons we need to look out for each other. Ensuring we can do all we can to ‘protect what’s precious’ in our homes and neighbourhoods from any potential or opportunist criminal activity, is just one less worry at this uncertain time.