Brace for a post-lockdown burglary spike

The charity ‘CrimeStoppers-UK’ warn that criminals will target homes full of new gadgets bought during lockdown as we begin spending more time outside. This is what the charity has to say;

New research by John Lewis shows an average household has bought over £4,000 worth of items during the pandemic to work, exercise and entertain at home. After a year of being stuck at home, the nation is making plans to go out again when lockdown eases. But as an independent charity, we’re warning that if we’re all not careful, Spring could feel like Christmas for burglars, due to the amount of new expensive items we’ve bought to get us through the pandemic.

New research commissioned by John Lewis Home Insurance among 2,000 UK adults has found that, since the pandemic broke out, 71% of us have purchased new items such as gym equipment, tablets and TVs to turn our homes into offices, schools, gyms and our sole place to relax and entertain. The average amount spent buying these new items totals £4,338, with eight per cent of people spending between £5,000 and £30,000.

The vast majority of those surveyed (86%) said that they’re already planning to go out if lockdown measures are eased in April. Meeting friends outside and eating out are the things we most want to do; and nearly one third (29%) are planning to go away.

Despite acquiring more valuable items, well over half of those surveyed (59%) said they didn’t adjust their home insurance policy. The survey also found that nearly one fifth (18%) of households decided not to renew their home insurance over the past year, with reasons including: there was always someone at home (8%), they forgot to renew (10%) and they didn’t think they had to (10%).

Ali Berryman, Head of Financial Services at John Lewis, said:
“Over the last twelve months, out of necessity we’ve turned our homes into offices, gyms and places to entertain ourselves – and we’ve spent lots of money making this happen.

“The vast majority of us are already making plans to leave our homes once lockdown restrictions are lifted, and we want people to do that knowing that their new possessions are protected. It’s incredibly common for us to forget to add new valuable items to our home insurance, with well over half of those surveyed saying they didn’t adjust their policy after making large purchases.”

Mark Lee, Director at Lifeline Alarm Systems Ltd, adds:

“We are very blessed here on the Isle of Wight. The Island offers one of the most attractive places in the UK to both live and work. At Lifeline, we have seen a huge increase in people setting up home offices and running their mainland businesses or offices from their homes here on the Island. This means homes are full of high tech equipment that can present as an Aladin’s Cave to would be intruders.  Items might include: Smart Phones, Laptops, WebCams, Tablets, Smart Watches & Fitness Trackers, Gym Equipment, Bikes, Printers, Screens, Social Media Lights, Garden Furniture, TV’s, Computers and office equipment to name just a few attractive items.”

Many homes now contain high tech office equipment

Mick Duthie, Crimestoppers’ Director of Operations, said:
“Having your home burgled can be not only a costly experience but also emotionally traumatic. As we come out of lockdown, it’s crucial that we all ensure our homes are as secure as possible. This spring could feel like the Christmas burglars didn’t have last year, because we stayed at home.

“We also ask that anyone who knows someone who is involved in burglary to contact our charity 100% anonymously, here on our website or by calling 0800 555 111, and tell us what you know. Together, we can help keep our homes and communities safe from crime.”

Some tips offered by Lifeline & Crimestoppers to keep your home safe

Criminals watch out for houses they think are empty and unprotected.  You can make their lives harder by doing the following:

  • Fitting an Intruder Alarm with visual deterrents and sounders at the front and back of your property.
  • Switch lights or a radio on when you go out. You can buy timer devices to do this automatically.
  • Even if you’re only going out for a few minutes, check that all doors and windows are properly closed and locked.
  • Make sure side and back gates are secure.
  • Don’t leave garden tools outside, keep ladders out of sight and ensure sheds, garages and outbuildings are locked.
  • Fit tamper-proof automatic outside security lights.
  • Fit CCTV to accessible areas of your property. CCTV is now within the affordability range of most people.
  • Even when you’re at home, try not to leave accessible windows open at night.
  • If you’re going away on holiday, ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your home, take in any deliveries and consider parking on your drive.
  • If you are away, make your house look lived in.
  • Don’t let yourself become a victim of a distraction burglary, where more than one person calls at your door, trying to dupe you into letting one caller in to burgle you whilst you are distracted by another one.
  • Be careful in your use of social media, thieves can glean enormous amounts of information from social media accounts.

If you have any security concerns about your home of business call Lifeline now on 01983 521621, where our team of experts will be ready to assist.

To read the full article from CrimeStoppers-UK click here