Brits are giving burglars a helping hand, according to a new report.
Only a third of people have a burglar alarm or security windows, less than one in five rely on light timers and one in ten has external security cameras.
Over the last 12 months, more than a half a million British homes have been broken into, with each theft netting thieves an average haul worth £2,267.
And a third of homes have also had outdoor storage spaces like sheds and garages targeted, as well as 25 per cent reporting fly-tipping into their gardens.
Commenting on the research commissioned by Nest Labs, creators of the Nest Cam Outdoors, former Police Commissioner Colin Port said: “As winter draws in, the long nights make things easier for burglars looking for a house to break into.
“There are many ways to make your home more secure, both inside and out, but many people simply believe it won’t happen to them.”
Of 1,500 UK adults polled, more than 75 per cent believed their home was secure – but 55 per cent had suffered a break-in.
And it’s not the elderly who are most at risk – the 16-25 age group is TWICE as likely to be targeted as the over-75s and almost three times as likely to have no security measures in place.
Colin Port added: “Students and young people’s homes are a common target for thieves as they often hold laptops and other valuables whilst rarely investing in securing what may be rented or temporary property.”
Nest Head of Product Marketing Lionel Guicherd-Callin said: “As the value of items stored in outbuildings has increased, our security measures have not kept up
“Traditional security measures, such as alarms, often don’t extend to property outside our physical home, and so outdoor cameras – which are a great visible deterrent and now more accessible than ever – are a powerful home security addition.”
Data from the Crime survey of England and Wales showed that thieves walk away with an average ‘take’ of £2,267.
Lionel Guicherd-Callin said: “As November is the most common time of the year for burglaries, it’s important for homeowners to think about their security. A number of people are leaving an open door to criminals, quite literally in some cases, and are putting their homes at risk.”
The emotional effects of a break-in can often be more damaging than material losses (which just 3% stated as the thing they feared most about being burgled).
A third of those burgled said they became less trusting in the aftermath of the burglary.
And one in five said they struggled with anxiety or panic attacks in the weeks following the break-in.
Sixty five per cent of Brits polled said that the criminals that broke into their homes were never caught or prosecuted, with just 16 per cent reporting a successful conviction.
Reformed home-breaker Michael Fraser, 54 who began burgling houses at age 13 before turning over a new leaf, said: “Burglars are looking to make life as easy as possible for themselves.
“They are able to evaluate how secure a home is at a glance – a weak door or an unlocked window can serve as an invitation to criminals. But the reverse is also true – prominent security measures such as burglar alarms, security cameras, and even a thorny bush can act as great deterrents.”
Top Tips from home security experts – on both sides of the law
? Leave valuables on show through your windows.
? Advertise you have pets in the house – it’s a sign you don’t have an alarm.
? Leave tools outside your home that could be used to break in.
? Leave calendars or notes that show when you’re away near windows.
? Let your hedges become overgrown and obscure entrances.
? Make your front door look as secure as possible.
? Invest in visible home security, such as an alarm or camera, to deter thieves.
? Use your security products. If you have them installed, make the most of them.
? Install a letterbox cage so burglars can’t reach through and ‘fish’ for keys.
? Get to know your neighbours – they can be a second pair of eyes for you.