Locks and Security News: your weekly locks and security industry newsletter
20th January 2021 Issue no. 541
Your industry news - first
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Gardening equipment tops Britain's "Most Stolen in Burglaries 2015" chart
...with garden sheds being the weakest link!
The New Year brings high-value items to homes around the UK through Christmas presents and purchases in the sales, but this also means the increased risk of falling victim to thieves. That's the view of a national security company which says that high-tech items vie with the typical contents of the garden shed as the most stolen items in the country.
According to CCTV.co.uk, which installs and services closed-circuit security systems for both householders and businesses, virtually all household thefts can be prevented by taking a few basic measures to deter the criminals.
"We hear tales of woe everyday from people who thought that it would never happen to them," says CCTV.co.uk spokesperson Jonathan Ratcliffe, "but crime can hit anywhere, no matter how 'crime-free' your community may be."
The Yorkshire-based company's own findings virtually mirror those from insurance group Direct Line, which found that the top ten most stolen items in the UK last year were:
2. Mobile phones
3. Power tools
4. Laptop computers
5. Tablet computers
7. Golfing equipment
8. Gardening tools
9. Audio equipment
CCTV.co.uk notes that there's a fairly even split between items found in the home, and those usually left in the shed or the garage.
"There's a reason why so many bicycles, tools and golf equipment go missing, and it's all down to lack of security," Ratcliffe explains.
"You might secure your home with multi-point locks, but the average shed is still only protected by a cheap padlock which is easily broken. And it's the same with garage doors which don't survive for long in the face of a determined crook with a crowbar."
Household thefts tend to be items with thieves find easily portable, which is why mobile phones, tablets and cameras are often targeted. Ratcliffe notes that television thefts remain relatively static as old "big back" cathode ray TVs have been replaced by equally difficult to carry away large-screen LCD models.
Victims, speaking to CCTV.co.uk on condition of anonymity, said that they thought that household theft would never happen to them, and were taken aback by the brazen attitude of the criminals:
"They broke the chunky padlock on the garage with a crowbar, and all my golf gear went, along with the power tools," one person told us. "I always assumed that our security was tough enough. Evidently it wasn't, but with the help of local police, it is now."
Another said: "I always used to leave the laptop out on the dining room table, and it only took one open window for them to reach in and grab it. Looking back, it was an obvious, stupid mistake to make."
Ratcliffe offers some simple tips for homeowners to step up their security. "Apart from the obvious tack of investing in a CCTV or alarm system, there are cheap and easy ways of securing your property," he says.
- Take a look round your property with a thief's eye, and ask yourself if someone would be able to gain access given sufficient time. Look out for 'blind spots' where a burglar can work undisturbed.
- Ask a police crime prevention officer to visit. They'll recognise weak points, and offer advice on how to beef up your security.
- Speak to your home insurance company, and find out the minimum standards required for door, window and outbuilding security. Fall short of these, and you might not succeed in an insurance claim.
- Keep your valuables out of sight!
With police budgets stretched and fewer officers available to investigate domestic property crime, it's up to householders to lower the risk of becoming a victim, says CCTV.co.uk's Ratcliffe.
"Don't turn your home into a fortress. The risk of becoming a victim of domestic burglary is still mercifully low," he says. "But with a little thought and a modest outlay, you can save yourself the loss and heartbreak."
13th January 2016