Being an ex burglary detective within the Metropolitan Police, I have noticed burglaries typically rise by 15% in October and November as the dark nights set in. Having a visible smart home security system is the most powerful deterrent.
It’s a sad fact that winter is the worst time of year for burglaries, with shorter days meaning more opportunities for callous thieves.
Now the clocks have gone back, that means we’ll be seeing less daylight – so it pays to be extra careful.
I will explain five tell-tale signs to watch out for that could indicate a burglar is targeting your home.
For intruders, the clocks going back means one thing; more hours of darkness. This means more opportunities to break-in without being seen.
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.
Marks on your property
I remember being a young policeman in London and mysterious markings were being drawn on the pavement outside homes. These were burglary markings and are still being used today by criminals.
Despite gaining much attention in the press, burglars are still using more “traditional” markings on homes they’re looking to target.
For example, a triangle symbol is used to show a single woman lives in the property on her own, or vertical lines could imply a house has obvious valuables inside.
A circle symbol usually indicates a potential site for burglary, whereas a circle with a line through it usually means the property should be avoided. This could be because they have security cameras or an obvious alarm system.
Also keep an eye out for letters ‘M’ which tells other burglars to strike the morning, whereas ‘N’ means a night-time intrusion.
These aren’t the only symbols or signs burglars will use, so keep an eye out for anything unusual.
Here are other methods:
Kidney beans on the doorstep
One mum initially thought she had been the victim of a silly prank when she spotted kidney beans on her doorstep.
Yes, believe it or not, kidney beans outside your home could well be another sign that your home is about to be burgled.
The would-be crooks simply leave a spilt can of kidney beans on the doorstep with the theory that if it isn’t cleaned up, the property must be unoccupied. Although it could be anything outside your door; kidney beans appear to be the current trend.
This clever tactic is particularly sneaky as it could be easy for homeowners to assume it’s just kids messing around.
Salespeople keep turning up at your door
You’ll rarely have salespeople knocking on your door nowadays, as it’s seen as a time consuming and low success rate sales tactic.
So, if people keep turning up at your property unannounced trying to “sell” you stuff, it could in fact be a burglar scoping out the property.
If they offer anything that involves gaining access to your property – such as window cleaning or roof repairs – it’s probably best you turn them down.
Always do a background check before letting anyone into your home.
Unfamiliar cars keep turning up on your street
This one is harder to keep track of if you don’t know your street all that well. But 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.
The most obvious signs of this being a potential intruder is frequent visits and someone who doesn’t actually leave their vehicle.
Keep a record of any registration plates of vehicles that arrive and depart of someone who looks suspect.
Watch out for fake emergencies
If someone knocks at your door and says they need help, be especially aware if you don’t know them.
Sadly, burglars are known to fake emergencies and take advantage of kindness.
For example, they’ll say their car has broken down and they need to go inside your home to charge their phone.
Always be extra vigilant and don’t let anyone into your home who you don’t know.
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.
You should instead lock all the doors and call 999 immediately.
These are purely examples of tactics criminals use. This list is not exhaustive and if you suspect anything or see something out of the ordinary, call the police and contact us at Valkyrie – we are happy to help with every aspect of your home security.
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