Households warned to secure homes from burglars as people return to

Households have been warned to stay vigilant when returning to work as it has been suggested this could be a prime time for burglars to strike.

The advice comes as daylight hours shorten with homeowners reminded of the importance of securing their homes.

Burglary claims have decreased in the first six months of the year, due to more people spending time at home, with Lloyds Bank Home insurance seeing a 51 per cent decrease in burglary claims between March to August when compared to the same period last year.

However, police forces across the country reported an average of 17 per cent increase as restrictions began to ease between May and June, according to research by MoneySupermarket.  

Households have been warned to secure their homes properly when returning to their office

Households have been warned to secure their homes properly when returning to their office

Households have been warned to secure their homes properly when returning to their office

Certain areas of the UK are more at risk than others, with the biggest spike in burglaries reported in Lincolnshire Police, which confirmed a 102 per cent increase from May to July. 

South Wales Police follows with a 48 per cent rise over the same period. Meanwhile, in contrast, Cheshire reported a 14 per cent decrease – the biggest drop in cases reported across the country. 

However, the combination of the darker nights and the increase in people returning to their work place can provide the perfect time for a burglar to break in.

Thomas, 36, was one such person who was burgled, on the first day he returned to work.

He had been working from home since February, for his own company in events planning, living with his partner and two children.

After returning to the workplace in July, he returned to the family home to find it had been broken into with many belongings stolen.

Thomas, who lives in London, said: ‘We’ve got a side door to our kitchen, which is on the basement level, and is accessible from the outside.

‘The burglars removed or broke the lock on the side door and entered that way. Once they were in, they had the whole house at their disposal.’

As more people return to their place of work, they are advised to ensure they lock their homes

As more people return to their place of work, they are advised to ensure they lock their homes

As more people return to their place of work, they are advised to ensure they lock their homes

More than £8,000 worth of belongings were taken including jewellery, clothing and electronics including a Playstation, laptops and a television.

He said: ‘I’m inclined to think there was some homework done in advance as it would seem rather coincidental on the first day that I was working away from home again, a burglary takes place.’

Fortunately, he managed to make a successful claim on his insurance for the items but is now far more tight on security.

‘We have replaced the alarm system and upgraded it to a monitored service that was contracted out to a security firm.

‘We’ve also upgraded the locks around our entire house and re-photographed any items of value to make things easier should something happen again.’

Households who have not checked their security in recent times are advised to ensure all is working and see if upgrading their locks could be beneficial.  

Tim Downes, senior claims manager, Lloyds Bank Home Insurance, said: ‘With the long, light days of summer many of us may have fallen out of daily habits like checking windows and doors are locked at night and before going out.

‘However, as the clocks change and the nights draw in, unlocked windows and doors can provide the perfect opportunity for a burglar to come in.

‘Even if you’re just nipping to the shops it’s easy for a robber to take advantage of the cover of darkness or an open window to gain entry into your house. 

‘Taking the right precautions means that homeowners can rest easier, knowing their properties are protected.’

In MoneySupermarket’s most recent burglary hotspot study at the beginning of the year, it found that residents in Central Birmingham were the most at risk from being robbed.

The B5 postal area – which includes Digbeth, Highgate and Lee Bank – made the most burglary claims over the last two years, with a rate of 57.14 claims per 1,000 quotes.

B94, covering Olton and Solihull, was found to have the second highest number of claims with 52.63 per 1,000 quotes.

This was followed by IG5, Clayhall, in North East London, which had slightly less at 51.64 per 1,000. 

To protect your home, households are advised that installing smart technology could help reduce insurance premiums in the home.

The more you can convince your insurer that you have sufficiently protected your home, the lower prices tend to get. 

Items like smart doorbells, that will let you know who is at your door, even if you’re not in and electric lights can deter burglars. 

Locksmiths have also advised that having your home assessed by security experts, something that is often done for free, is beneficial. 

They also suggest that hiring an approved locksmith could make the world of difference to your security system.  

Ensuring you have a proper lock installed and use Sold Secure tested products is also advised.   

How to protect your property

Lloyds Bank Home Insurance is offering homeowners top tips safe from burglary as the nights draw in:

1. Get back into the habit of locking your windows and doors at night, and if you go out.

2. Make sure bushes, hedges and trees aren’t creating easy hiding places for burglars.

3. Leave a light on in your home when you are out or have a light timer fitted.

4. Think about installing exterior security lights at the front and back of your property.

5. Leave the radio or the television on to give the impression that the house is occupied when you’re not at home.

6. If possible, invest in a CCTV system. You can now also buy cameras that allow you to monitor your home remotely via your smart phone or tablet when you are out.

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