Beware of sneak-in thieves

Many people might think that burglaries involve forced entry, yet in fact, around a third of all break-ins are actually via an unlocked door or window. These are termed ‘insecure’ break-ins by the police and can include sneak-in burglaries (where the thief literally sneaks in through an unlocked door), and distraction burglaries (where someone distracts the victim in some way to enable them or an accomplice to enter the property).

So, how do you prevent insecure break-ins?
The best way to prevent a sneak-in thief – and apologies if this seems too obvious – is to keep doors and windows shut and locked, even when inside the house. However, if it was this simple, insecure burglaries wouldn’t account for 30% of all break ins. The main issue here is complacency: people don’t see leaving doors unlocked as being a risk if they are in the house. The reality is it only takes a few minutes to enter the home, grab what they want and then leave. Often people don’t even realise they’ve been burgled until they come to look for their purse/phone/iPad etc. This is particularly a problem in summer months when it’s warm and people like to have their doors and windows open.

This is really about getting into good habits and keeping doors locked. A visual reminder near the door, such as a sticker, can be useful or even a Yale lock that automatically locks behind you. Windows should only be left open if the room is occupied.

Preventing distraction burglars
Preventing a distraction burglary requires an extra level of vigilance as it involves someone deliberately trying to dupe you in some way. You should always be cautious about anyone you don’t know who comes to your door. Always ensure that any other doors are already locked before you answer the door and never leave someone at the door unattended. Often they will claim to be some kind of tradesperson, there to do a job. Don’t allow anyone in that you’re not expecting and make sure you ask for official ID, even if they appear to be wearing some kind of uniform. If you’re not sure, call the company they claim to be from to verify. Don’t be afraid to turn them away if you’re not 100% convinced.

It’s a sad truth that these people do tend to prey on the vulnerable – 74% of distraction victims live alone and the average age is 78. If you’re worried about friends or family members that fit this profile, you could display a notice on the door to deter cold callers and perhaps even have some kind of intercom system installed so they don’t have to physically open the door. At the very least encourage them to use a spy hole or security chain.

Locking the entry points to your home and a healthy dose of wariness towards strangers that come to the door are fairly simple things but they could make a huge impact on reducing insecure burglaries – that’s a third of all burglaries that could potentially be avoided. It just shows it really is worth getting into the habit of keeping those doors locked!

Our Guest Author

Calder Security

Calder Security is an independent security firm offering a range of security services to businesses and domestic customers across Yorkshire including alarms, CCTV and locksmith. It is celebrating 40 years in business this year.