As an Edinburgh locksmith, part of my job is to attend properties that have been burgled to replace broken locks and make them secure again. For some people, being burgled is a really traumatic experience and makes them frightened to be in their own homes. I understand this fear and will always do my very best to make them feel safe again. Thankfully over the last few decades, the number of burglaries across the UK has been falling. In particular, there was a sharp fall of almost 31% during the covid pandemic. This is not really surprising as lengthy lockdowns meant more people were at home during the day, so opportunities for burglars fell significantly. However, now that society is operating in a ‘near normal’ way, is this trend set to continue?
Unfortunately, many experts are predicting the exact opposite and claim that housebreaking is set to increase significantly. This is due to the current cost of living crisis which is making everything more expensive. Unfortunately, when a country faces economic turmoil and financial instability, crimes such as housebreaking tend to increase. This is exactly what happened after the last big financial crash in 2008. In fact, there are reports that police are currently gearing up to deal with a surge in crime this winter due to the cost of living crisis.
Properties at greatest risk of being burgled
As well as the cost of living crisis, there are other factors that are known to increase your risk of being burgled.
- Detached house (22% of UK housing stock but make up 27% of reported burglaries)
- End of terrace house (7% of properties but make up 9% of reported burglaries)
- House with significant cover e.g. trees, hedges etc.
- House which is secluded
- House with poor exterior lighting
- House with poor security or weakened entry points
- House near previously burgled properties
- House which has been previously burgled
How can I reduce my risk?
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about the cost of living crisis or the type of house you live in BUT there are other simple steps you can take to reduce your risk.
- Ensure that your exterior doors and windows are protected with good quality, high security locks. This includes secure locks on garages and other outbuildings.
- Install a good quality house alarm and ensure you activate it when necessary.
- Minimise any areas of cover near entry points to your property e.g. cut back shrubs and trees etc.
- Install suitable exterior security lighting around your property.
- Close the curtains at night, particularly on ground floor windows.
- Use timers on interior lights and appliances to make it appear that someone is at home.
- Install a Smart home security system. This will allow you to keep an eye on your property when you are not there using your smartphone, tablet etc.