British homeowners warned that they are too trusting

Posted on Saturday, October 14, 2017

A third of British householders leave their windows open when they are out (35%) and one in ten (11%) even leave doors open when they are not at home.

A new study commissioned by smart home security firm, Canary, to mark National Home Security Month (October 2017) found British homeowners are regularly leaving their homes vulnerable to break ins, despite a fifth admitting that they have experienced domestic burglary (18%) and almost half (47%) worrying about home security.

The warning comes ahead of an anticipated surge in burglaries in the winter months with Office of National Statistics data illustrating a trend towards an increase in domestic burglary October to December compared with other times of the year.

Simple blunders could be costing the nation as much as £4.5 billion in stolen valuables. Indeed, one in ten British homeowners (11%) admit they have lost their house keys and not bothered to change the locks, and many have left their door open during the night (20%) making themselves vulnerable to burglary whilst they sleep. Additionally, over half of British homeowners (56%) admit to not having installed a security device in their home.

The younger generation (18 – 24 year olds) were most lax when it comes to online security, with 57% revealing they have shared their location on social media when they are not at home – advertising to would-be-thieves that their home is empty, compared to just 16% of over 55s. 36% of British homeowners said they have not even considered the security risks of sharing their location on social media, with over a third (37%) preoccupied with making their online friends and followers jealous of their adventures. 

The older generation are also more cautious when it comes to locking their doors with just 12% revealing they feel safe enough to leave their doors open when they are out, compared to 54% of 18 to 24 year olds.  A further 17% of 18 to 24 year olds left their front door open whilst on holiday and a quarter (25%) had shared upcoming holiday plans with a stranger the highest of any age group.

Trusted Britons’ Top Security Blunders

1. Leave window open to my home whilst out (35 per cent)

2. Left keys hidden outside home (30 per cent)

3. Let a stranger such as a tradesperson into your home without asking for ID (22 per cent)

4. Shared location on social media platforms when away from home (22 per cent)

5. Left the doors unlocked at night whilst sleeping (20 per cent)

6. Left door open to home whilst out (11 per cent)

7. Lost keys and not changed lock (11 per cent)

8. Shared upcoming holiday plans with a stranger (7 per cent)

Northern Ireland takes the crown for most trusting place in the country as 77% of homeowners trust their neighbours and local community, compared to 60% of East Anglia. 30% of Northern Irish homeowners have let a tradesperson into their home without checking ID, 44% have hidden a key outside their home and one in three (34%) have left their front door unlocked when out.

Elsewhere, almost a quarter of Scottish residents frequently leave their windows open when they are out (24%), whereas 83% of East Anglia never leave their door unlocked – the highest of any region. Homeowners in the North East leave their doors unlocked most often when they leave the house (17%).  Whilst community spirit and trustworthiness is to be admired, the North-East region also had one of the highest percentage of homeowners that had experienced burglary in the UK (23%).

When it comes to burglaries, looking at a national picture, whilst most households who had been burgled said thieves broke in by smashing a window (41%), one in ten (10%) said thieves got in through an open window and 8% said they got in through an open door.

With over 650,000 domestic burglaries reported in the last year and an uplift of 27% in domestic burglaries in the last quarter of 2016 compared to other times of the year, Smart home security firm Canary is raising awareness of the common security pitfalls that many homeowners fall victim to and offering top tips on protecting Britain’s homes during National Home Security Month (October 2017).

Co-founder Jon Troutment from the smart home security firm, Canary, explains; “While the trusting nature of the British public is something to admire, it does have the potential to leave many homes vulnerable at this time of year. Thieves know that household value increases as Christmas shopping gets underway and darker evenings leave homes much more vulnerable to burglaries. Home safety and security is a top priority at Canary so to help homeowners protect the people and things they love, we have created some tips to help keep homes secure at this time of year.”

Consumer Tips from Canary:

Lock-up thoroughly. It’s very common for thieves to access a house key through an open window or through a letterbox, so ensure you do not leave a key in the keyhole of your door or window. Hide them out of view instead.

Don’t hide a spare key. Even if you think it is hidden in a foolproof place, it still leaves you vulnerable to theft. And make sure to not leave keys under doormats or plant pots – thieves know these classic hiding spots!

Hide your valuables. With the festive season approaching, make sure to keep new items of high value out of sight from the windows so your home is not such an attractive target for thieves

Avoid posting on social media. A huge number of homeowners share their location on social media when they are away - making their home a target for burglaries. Why not post an album once you’re back from your break?

Get a home security system. Home security is more affordable than ever and smart home security systems like Canary can be checked remotely. Canary monitors your home and sends alerts to your phone if it notices anything out of the ordinary. If needed, you can sound an alarm or contact UK emergency services straight from the app, no matter where you are in the world.

Pretend you’re home. Set up automated lights as the evenings get darker to make it look like you’re home in the evening. This is particularly important during the festive season as thieves know that it is prime time for properties to be empty due to people visiting family and friends. LIFX+ smart lights connect to your wi-fi network enabling adjustments in brightness, warmth, and colour. They also enhance the night vision of security cameras like Canary. Link your lights to your cloud account to allow access from anywhere in the world.

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