In October 2019 security experts SafeSite Security Solutions launched an online home security assessment, to mark the start of National Home Security Month, and to help homeowners protect their properties.
The assessment, which was backed by former burglar turned security specialist Michael Fraser, contained a series of 12 ‘quiz’ questions for homeowners about their home security, testing how vulnerable their property may be to burglary. In January 2020 an analysis of the responses provided by almost 250 homeowners, gave an insight into the nation’s home security habits.
The data showed that:
- Homeowners in the Midlands are most likely to have security lighting installed and use a spy hole or safety chain on their front door. Residents in the Midlands are also most likely to recognise that they live in a Neighbourhood Watch area, suggesting home security is a concern for residents in this area. Police force data from West Midlands Police, published on UK Crime Stats, supports this showing a steady increase in burglary in the 6 months from August 2019 to January 2020.
- The over 60s are the least likely age group to security mark their belongings and 75% of all respondents said property in their sheds and garages was not security marked. This indicates better communication of crime prevention advice is needed to encourage security stamping. Immobilise, the UK’s national property register, has promotional materials available on its website to encourage registration. 75% of survey respondents said they didn’t have detailed photographs of their valuables either. This can help to reunite property with its rightful owners and may also support an insurance claim in the event of a theft.
- 1 in 2 UK households (56%) do not have a burglar alarm installed at their property. Alarm systems are the number one burglar deterrent and can help to reduce your home insurance premiums as well. 71% of UK households do not have a CCTV system installed at home. As well as being a useful deterrent, in the event of an intrusion, CCTV cameras will capture vital evidence. The over 60s are less likely to have a burglar alarm or CCTV camera installed at their property, compared to younger age groups. This suggests that the over 60s may either be less inclined to leave their homes unoccupied or that they feel these types of security systems are unnecessary.
Reassuringly, many property owners are putting protective measures in place:
- 75% of homeowners have indoor or outdoor security lighting, giving the impression someone is always at home.
- 86% of homeowners keep their front door locked, even when they are at home – a simple step to prevent intruders gaining access even when there is someone inside the property.
- 87% of homeowners practice keeping house and car keys out of sight overnight. Despite this, car theft rates in England and Wales have reached an eight-year high. Figures from the Association of British Insurers reveal that a pay-out for motor vehicle theft is made every eight minutes on average.
The data also showed that:
- Over 45s are more likely to live in a Neighbourhood Watch area in the UK compared to younger age groups.
- Those living in rural counties are more likely to have CCTV installed at their home than those living in metropolitan areas.
- Under 45s are more likely to have CCTV installed at home than older age groups.
Commenting on the data Gabriella Pemberton, General Manager, SafeSite Security Solutions said: “We were pleasantly surprised to find that almost half of respondents have a burglar alarm installed at their property. I would actually have expected this figure to be much lower as home security is often something people think about ‘after the event’ – if they or someone they know has been burgled. It’s possible the number was higher because the people who completed the assessment may have already been considering a home security system – which is how they found our website.
“I think there is still a perception that security systems are ‘clunky’ and unreliable – and this is supported by the fact that our data shows that the over 60s are less likely to have a burglar alarm or CCTV camera installed at their property, compared to younger age groups. The older respondents will have grown up at a time where home security technology was not as sophisticated or dependable as it is now. However, the reality is that burglar alarm technology has improved massively over the years, particularly with the introduction of wireless systems and the possibility of remote monitoring.
“Looking at home security here and now, during the coronavirus lockdown overall burglary rates have fallen. However, across the country there are second homes, holiday homes and commercial premises lying empty, and these properties and their contents may still be at risk if owners don’t take adequate security precautions.”