The West Midlands has ranked 2nd in the country for chances of burglary. Here’s how to protect yourself against this hideous crime
In recent figures published by Casinopedia’s Interactive Crime Report, the West Midlands ranked 2nd in the country for chances of burglary. So, as the clocks go back and the nights close in, we need to take action, to prevent being a victim of the scum that take advantage of the darker months.
So what can you do to keep your homes, cars and businesses safe and secure over the winter months? Take a look through these top tips and stay safe this winter.
1. Hide valuables
The festive season is on its way but unfortunately for Staffordshire, Christmas presents are a big draw for burglars. You may be tempted to put your wrapped gifts under the tree. But this could increase your chances of being a target. We want you to have a Merry Christmas this year. Thus, keeping Christmas presents hidden and not put under the tree until Christmas Day are simple ways to discourage likely burglars as valuables are no longer on display. You don’t want your house acting as a potential shop window for burglars this winter.
For a business it is important to lock away valuable stock, remove it out of sight and invest in security shutters for your shop window and entrance. Check all your alarm systems and CCTV are running correctly. Additionally, check the terms and conditions of the your insurance policy, as there are often exclusions embedded into contracts that mean the insurers will not cover burglaries if the premise has been empty for over a certain time period.
According to Staffordshire Police “around a third of burglars get in through a back window,” so always lock your doors and windows even if you are inside at the time. The addition of a burglar alarm and motion sensor security lighting could highlight any break in immediately helping to deter a potential burglary. And keep any ladders securely attached to a wall or locked away to prevent your ladder actually aiding a burglar.
The Staffordshire Smart Alert App introduced by Matthew Ellis, Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, in 2016 is a security measure unique to Staffordshire. It is a free service where you can liaise with local police and receive community safety information specific to your postcode.
3. Neighbourhood Watch
Having a good relationship with your Neighbours, through a Neighbourhood Watch initiative, for example, could be critical to the crime prevention of your home. Neighbours will act as your eyes and ears when you are away adding extra protection for your property. Let your neighbours know when your home will be empty, and how they can get hold of you while you are away, so they can monitor any unusual activity and keep you in the loop for peace of mind.
For a business, striking up a relationship with neighbouring businesses is just as important. It’s a good idea to organise a rota over the Christmas period to check on each other’s vacant properties; this will not only deter any potential burglaries but it’s also a chance to spot suspicious activity.
4. Avoid posting holidays on Social Media
Is a burglary worth a few likes on a post? It is not advisable to advertise Christmas gifts and holidays on social media. This alerts potential burglars in the area of what is available to steal and when your property is empty.
5. Don’t fall victim to defrosting thefts
It is tempting to leave your car running on the drive or roadside in the mornings to defrost while you carry on getting ready inside, but this is a burglar’s dream! It only takes seconds for them to jump in and drive off without you even noticing, and, in most cases, this type of car theft is not covered by car insurance. It may be more time consuming to use de-icer spray and a scraper, but it can save money and hassle in the long-run.
6. Don’t hide Christmas shopping in your car!
With kids eager to get a sneaky peek at their presents, leaving bags of Christmas shopping in your car overnight, or even just for an hour as you continue shopping, might seem like a sensible idea, but it makes your car an attractive option for thieves. It is best never to leave Christmas gifts unattended in your car, but if it is unavoidable, make sure to keep them well hidden or locked safely in the boot.