Daylight saving leaves millions of homeowners in the dark about opportunistic thieves

26 Oct, 2018

26 Oct 2018 As the clocks go back, the winter nights draw in, home insurer Policy Expert urges homeowners to be vigilant and take precautions to protect their homes.

The warning comes as new research of almost 4,000 people found that 28% of workers get home past 6pm. There are approximately 32.4 million workers in the UK – this means there could be as many as 9 million people leaving their homes in the dark for longer. As the afternoons and evenings get gloomier, 14% of Brits say they are more concerned about leaving their property due to a potential burglary whilst they’re at work.

The research also found that the average time to get home from work is 5.09pm. At present, that means people are arriving home in daylight hours. However as of Sunday 28th October it will get dark at 4.41pm, meaning that from Monday 29th October, homes could be empty and unattended in darkness for 28 minutes. The length of time will increase by one to two minutes every day until mid-December when the average home could be left empty and unattended in darkness for a full hour and 15 minutes.

Despite this, the research revealed that many homes do not have adequate security in place to protect them while they’re empty. In fact, a quarter of people don’t take any security measures at all to protect their home from theft.

Only two in five of those surveyed have timed lights and just 39% install extra security lighting. A third (32%) close their curtains, one in five (18%) leave the TV/radio on and just over one in eight (12%) improve their locks. Yet, almost one in ten make an extra effort to leave work earlier or on time.

Homeowners have the current security measures in place:

  • External lighting – 69%
  • Tall fences – 49%
  • Plants/ Hedges – 40%
  • Lights on timers 39%
  • A dog – 34%
  • Burglar alarm – 32%
  • Neighbourhood watch membership – 17%
  • Surveillance cameras – 16%

Adam Powell, Head of Operations at Policy Expert commented“The winter months are a tempting time for opportunistic burglars. Longer nights and shorter days mean that there are more opportunities for crime to take place under the cover of darkness, so it’s important to remain vigilant and ensure your home is adequately protected. Any way to make your home look occupied or visible deterrents, such as lights on timers, CCTV cameras and burglar alarms should go some way in preventing a break in. Finally, check your home insurance policy to ensure it’s up to date and any valuables are declared to ensure you’re fully covered should the worst happen.”

Tips on protecting your home this Autumn:

  • Install a timer to set lights inside your home to come on once it gets dark – choose a light in a visible room at the front of the house, not the hallway, as this will create the impression that someone is inside
  • Invest in sensor-activated, external lighting for the garden and around the front of the home
  • Install a burglar alarm – not only is this a visible deterrent, if someone does attempt to break in the alarm would alert neighbours and the police before any damage could be done
  • Don’t leave curtains closed – during the day this makes it look like there’s no-one at home
  • Make sure any outbuildings or sheds are locked and that any tools are hidden away – these could be used to break into your home
  • Ensure any valuables are out of sight – remove the temptation and make sure these items cannot be seen from outside the house through the windows
  • Never leave a spare key anywhere near the front door, for example under a doormat, flower pot – thieves know all the usual hiding places
  • Similarly, don’t store house/car keys just inside your front door, as burglars could try to fish for the keys through the letterbox