Almost 300,000 home burglaries take place in the UK every year, and in most of them, the criminals get in through the door.
What’s surprising is that in 21% of these, the burglars don’t even have to damage anything… the doors aren’t locked, so they can walk straight in. Perhaps even more concerning is that in 43% of all home burglaries, the victim is known to the perpetrator in some way.
While it is virtually impossible to make your home 100% burglar-proof, there are a few simple steps you can take to make your home more secure and thwart the criminals if they attempt to break in.
On the other hand, there are also some things you might currently be doing that can make your home an easy target.
Things such as leaving your doors or windows unlocked, leaving your home unattended for long periods, or having a home alarm system or security lighting but not using them all make your home less secure.
But, arguably, one of the worst things you could be doing to make it easy for someone to break in is hiding a spare key somewhere near your door in case of an emergency.
Leaving a spare key somewhere might seem like a good idea, especially if you have members of your household who are constantly losing theirs, as it means they will never be locked out.
You might think you are being clever by doing this, but the reality is that criminals are a savvy bunch – they know all the familiar hiding places for spare keys and more, so hiding one might not be the best idea.
Here, we run down a few of the most common hiding places. If you are using any of these, we’d recommend you have a rethink…
Under the doormat
This is the most obvious place that many homeowners leave their spare key and, unfortunately, is the first place a burglar will look. It’s become a bit of a cliché because it happens in many films and TV shows. The reality is, if you do this, you are increasing your chances of coming home to an empty house.
Under a flowerpot
Hiding a spare key under a flowerpot is the second most likely place a burglar will look for a spare key. Even if you have lots of flowerpots in your garden, it only takes a few seconds to check under them all. Again, you may think you are being clever by doing this to outsmart the criminals, but the reality is, you’re not.
Fake rocks or key hides
You can buy key hides, which look like rocks or other garden objects, relatively inexpensively online. They may seem like a good idea, but they’re not.
Criminals are a wily bunch. They can easily spot a fake-looking rock and will check it as a matter of course. And if the criminal is known to you, they may even know exactly what you are using as a key hide and make a beeline for it.
Many holiday let or rental property landlords use a key lockbox to make it easy for people to check-in or out. Some homeowners also use one to keep a spare key for visitors – you simply enter the combination to access the key.
While they might seem like a good idea, the reality is, they are not that secure – a criminal using the right tools, or even brute force, can bust a lockbox open in seconds.
Worst still, key lockboxes are highly visible, so you are signalling to would-be intruders that there is a key to your property next to the front door. It can make your home an easy target, and there are better ways of protecting your home.
If you have an external mailbox, you might think this is an ingenious hiding place for a spare key, but the opposite is true. A mailbox is one of the first things a would-be thief will check.
The reality is, hiding your key anywhere near your front door is a bad idea. Some of the other places we have not covered in this list include on top of your porch light, in or behind a drainpipe, or under a windowsill.
If a burglar is determined, it only takes a few moments to search all the most obvious hiding places for a small object, and if they do find your key, they’ve hit the jackpot.
Security advice from Grays Locksmiths
Grays Locksmiths Nottingham has been providing trusted locksmith services to the people of Nottinghamshire for more than 30 years.
As a member of the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA), we are qualified and regularly vetted and inspected to carry out all aspects of professional locksmith work.
The MLA is recognised as the authoritative body for locksmithing by the police, the Home Office, the British Standards Institute and the Neighbourhood Home Watch network, among others.
We aim to make all our customers feel safe and secure in their homes.
We strive to stay ahead of the curve with all the latest security trends to ensure you are always getting the best locksmiths services and solutions on the market.
To find out more about our products and services, give us a call on 0115 9422315 or email email@example.com.