How to keep your home safe from thieves as winter approaches

How to keep your home safe from thieves as the nights draw in

Home insurance claims for burglaries jump by more than a third after the clocks go back, according to Co-op Insurance.

Its figures reveal that the number of claims relating to home thefts increase by 36% in the five months after the clocks go back, which happens this Sunday, October 29.

SEE ALSO: Locals confront man caught 'stealing donations' from charity shop

SEE ALSO: Screen memorabilia seized from drugs criminal sold at auction

The majority of claims relate to burglaries taking place on Friday nights, while Sundays are the least popular days for break ins - indicating thieves wait until they believe there is a larger probability of people being out for the evening.

As it gets dark earlier, however, some thefts occur while homeowners and renters are at or on their way home from work.

Rival insurer Policy Expert estimates that millions of homes are left vulnerable to burglaries because their occupants do not get back from work until after dark during the winter months.

Policy Experts' Adam Powell said: "Longer nights and shorter days mean that there are more opportunities for crime to take place under the cover of darkness, so it's important to remain vigilant and ensure your home is adequately protected."

How to protect your home while you are out

CCTV, the sound of a barking dog and strong heavy doors are the top three deterrents for burglars, Co-op Insurance's survey of a panel of ex-convicts shows.

So installing cameras, getting a dog and upgrading your external doors could all prove sensible ways to keep your home safe from thieves.

Other measures you can take include: installing a timer to set lights inside your home to come on once it gets dark; investing in sensor-activated, external lighting for the garden and the front of your home; and putting in a visible burglar alarm.

You don't necessarily have to spend money to make your house or flat more secure, though.

Ensuring any valuables are out of sight, making sure any outbuildings or sheds are locked, and avoiding leaving a spare key in an obvious spot are all free steps you can take to make life more difficult for any thieves considering targeting your home.

Read Full Story