At the end of each October, when the clocks are put back an hour and the darker nights are upon us at a much earlier time in the evening, the trend is for the number of burglaries to increase significantly during that winter period. Most notably, statistical evidence suggests that, during November and December, as Christmas approaches, burglars are at their most active and there is a significant spike in burglaries during those months.
The above is hardly surprising when you consider that the more darkness that there is, then the longer the period of cover (and to some extent, protection) that is offered to burglars. As the amount of light in a day shortens, with darkness descending as early as 4pm, people are generally still at work or school, meaning that there is ample opportunity of burglars to take advantage of properties that are unoccupied at an early stage in the day. Furthermore, during the winter period, people have the curtains shut for longer, meaning that neighbours are less likely to be aware of any suspicious activity.
Therefore, although, from a home security perspective, the extended period of darkness poses a significant additional challenge, there are several security measures that can be implemented during the winter period to reduce the chances of being burgled, as follows:
- Making a Home Appear Occupied;
- Install Outdoor/External Security/Sensor Lights;
- Maintain Garden;
- Lock Sheds and Garages;
- Lock Doors and Windows;
- House Key Security; and,
- Further Security Advice.
Making a Home Appear Occupied
- Burglars are opportunistic, who are mainly are after a quick and easy job, so even the simplest deterrents will influence their behaviour such that will look elsewhere. Dark homes are particularly appealing because they look unoccupied, and there’s less chance of being observed or noticed.
- Therefore, making your home appear occupied when you are at work or just simply away from home, is paramount during the winter period. One such means is to leave a light on in the house when you go to work in the morning until you return to work in the evening. If you are going to be away for an extended period (e.g. on vacation), then remotely controlled timers (to turn on lights and radios in the home at certain times of the day) are a highly effective security measure because they give the appearance that a home is occupied.
Install Outdoor/External Security/Sensor Lights
- It is quite common, during the winter period, for home gardens to be neglected and not to be maintained; this is just a natural human reaction to the cold weather. However, it’s important not to leave it grossly overgrown or untidy because overgrown bushes or trees can provide burglars additional concealment in the darkness.
- Additionally, all unused garden summer furniture should be removed because, not only is it an easy target for thieves, it can also be used as an aid to gain access to a property (e.g. standing on a garden table to gain access to a window).
Lock Sheds and Garages
- For similar reasons to removing summer garden furniture, sheds and garages should be made secure because they are generally easier to access than a house, and tools and equipment that they contain find could be used to gain entry to your home.
- Refer to Key Measures for the Safety and Security of Garages and Key Measures for the Safety and Security of Sheds on the safety and security of garages and sheds.
Lock Doors and Windows
- A simple but essential security measure is to ensure that all windows and doors are closed and locked before retiring to bed in the evening because it’s quite surprising the number of burglaries that occur as a result of burglar being able to gain access without having to force entry.
- Refer to Safety and Security Measures for Preventing a Burglary on locking doors and windows.
House Key Security
- Although it can be convenient to hide your keys under the doormat or a plant pot, this is highly discouraged from a home security perspective because burglars know that people do this, particularly in the winter months, and will check these locations.
- If you need to allow someone else access to your home, for example tradesmen, either leave your key with a trusted neighbour, or where possible, give it directly to whoever needs it, or install a combination key safe.
- Refer to Safety and Security Measures for Preventing a Burglary on house key security.
Further Security Advice
For any questions or further advice on security during the winter period, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07940900617.