Robbery risk as 1.5m leave spare key under the doormat

Home security blunders are rife in the UK, according to a new study that found 1.5 million people leave a spare key under the doormat.

The findings coincide with the UK release of The Bling Ring this week, starring Brit beauty Emma Watson (pictured) and based on the true story of a group of teenagers who break into the homes of Hollywood's rich and famous, pocketing millions of dollars worth of loot.

The study from found that British homeowners are surprisingly lax about home security, despite a third of burglary victims having been targeted more than once.

More than two thirds of households do not have a burglar alarm installed, according to figures from the British Crime Survey, while found half don't belong to a Neighbourhood Watch programme.

Moneysupermarket also found that a quarter don't have external security lights on their property, and a further have accidentally left doors and windows open or unlocked when out.

Real life risks
Sofia Coppola's film The Bling Ring, due in cinemas this Friday, alerts homeowners to the risks of poor home security. The film is based on a on a true story, following a group of fame and fashion-obsessed teenagers who steal millions of dollars' worth of goods from the homes of various Hollywood celebrities during the course of a year.

Their most famous heist was from socialite Paris Hilton, whose Los Angeles home was said to have been targeted on numerous occasions by the gang, who reportedly found a door-key under her doormat, and the doors actually left unlocked.

"There are simple things you can do to make sure your home is secure and reduce the chance of getting burgled," said Hannah Jones, home insurance expert at MoneySupermarket.

"Don't learn the hard way – take time to make sure your doors and windows are locked, especially if you're heading out and leaving your property unattended. Never stash your house keys in a plant pot or under the doormat as these are often the first places a burglar will check, and ensure you have a burglar alarm fitted to your property."

Social media
The movie demonstrates the heightened risk of oversharing on social media. The Bling Ring gang members reportedly tracked the movements of the celebrities they were targeting using social media, and monitored when they would be away from their homes.

The MoneySupermarket research revealed 18-34 year olds are the least security conscious in this way, with almost a fifth admitting they share on social networking sites when they are going to be away from their home, and when they are going on holiday.

Jones adds: "If you're heading off on holiday always ask a family member or trusted friend to check the house while it's unoccupied, and if you're going to update your friends about your holidays, remember to lock down your social media posts to make sure you know and trust the people who will be reading about your time away from home."
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