It’s an unfortunate fact that winter is the worst time of year for property theft with shorter days providing more opportunities for thieves. Professional cctv systems and alarm system help keep our properties safe, but as we move through winter, we see less daylight and more darkness, so it pays to be extra careful.
Here are some more tell-tale signs to watch out for that could indicate a burglar is targeting your home.
What professionals say
Home security expert, Robin Knox said: “For intruders, the clocks going back means one thing; more hours of darkness. This means more opportunities to break-in without being seen.”
“Burglaries typically rise by 15% in October and November as the dark nights set in and so having a visible smart home security system is the most powerful deterrent.”
“61% of burglaries take place between the hours of 6pm and 6am, which during the winter months are often pitch black, giving thieves a clear window to target a home.”
More marks on your property
Despite gaining much attention in the press and on social media, Mr Knox says burglars are still using more “traditional” markings on homes they’re looking to target. An example of this is a triangle symbol being used to show a single woman lives in the property on her own, or vertical lines could imply a house has obvious valuables inside.
Another to look out for is letters ‘M’ which tells other burglars to strike in the morning, whereas ‘N’ means a night-time is when the property is empty.
As we’ve stated in previous blog posts, these aren’t the only symbols or signs burglars will use to mark your property. Here are a few more to keep an eye out for.
Kidney beans on the doorstep
As strange as it may sound, kidney beans outside your home could be another sign that your home is about to become a target for criminals.
Burglars will leave a spilt can of kidney beans or other messy food on the doorstep. The theory is that if it isn’t cleaned up, the property must be unoccupied. It’s a clever tactic as many home owners just assume it’s kids messing around, but sometimes it’s much more serious. Our CCTV systems can monitor the front of your home allowing you to record all activity outside your property.
Salespeople turning up at your door?
Let’s face it, with things the way they are in the world, it’s very rare for sales people to knock on your door these days. If people keep turning up at your home unannounced it could be a burglar scouting out the property.
If they ever offer anything that involves gaining access to your property, turn them down. Always do a background check before letting anyone into your home. If you are interested in the service, but cautious about the person at your door, politely refuse, but offer to contact their business to arrange another appointment.
If you are on friendly terms with your neighbours, and you happen to spot the same car with an unfamiliar face regularly parked outside your home, it could be someone scoping out your street.
A more obvious signs of this being a potential intruder is frequent visits and someone who doesn’t actually leave their vehicle. If you are suspicious of a vehicle in your area, keep a record of the registration plates of vehicles.
Watch out for fake emergencies
We all want to help someone in an emergency. If someone knocks at your door and says they need help, be especially aware if you don’t know them. Criminals are known to fake emergencies and take advantage of your kindness. For example, they’ll say their car has broken down and they need to go inside your home to charge their phone.
The general rule is always be extra vigilant and don’t let anyone into your home who you don’t know. CCTV systems will record any visitors to your home, so should the worst happen, you’ll have evidence of any suspicious callers.
What should you do if you think you’re being burgled?
“If you think someone is trying to enter your home, do not go outside to approach them,“ said Mr Knox.
“You should instead Lock all the doors and call 999 immediately.“
If you come home one day to find that you have been burgled, there’s a couple of steps you must take: Don’t touch anything in the property. You might want to find out what has been taken but it could potentially destroy fingerprint or DNA evidence. Don’t walk around the house, intruders might have left footwear marks on the floor which crime scene investigators will want to look into. If the burglar has left anything behind, leave it where it is and notify the officer when they arrive.
If you have CCTV, get it ready for the police to review. It can be incredibly important in their investigation. CCTV systems and alarm systems from I-Spy CCTV can easily be installed on any property. Our professional team is here to help with any questions you may have.