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Burgling Londoners: how to protect your home in the capital

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London is ranked number one in the UK for burglary, featuring 16 of the nation’s top 20 hotspots, according to recent research carried out by Moneysupermarket.

London’s burglary hotspots

Redbridge, London was voted the worst for burglary in the UK

In a study of 1.8 million home insurance claims made in 2015 and 2016, Redbridge in north-east London came out on top for being the most at risk from house burglaries. The IG4 Redbridge postcode experienced 54.7 break-ins for every 1,000 insurance quotes. Expensive for insurers and distressing for homeowners, it’s not known why north London’s suburbs are proving quite so popular with thieves – with Whetstone, Chadwell Heath and Clayhall all appearing in the top five. One school of thought suggests that burglars may be attracted to areas where there is likely to be a higher average value of goods and where they may be less likely to be caught. This means that leafy suburbia is an obvious target, thanks to the higher anticipated value of belongings.

Simple steps towards a more secure home

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, with figures released by the Metropolitan Police and the Office for National StatisticsĀ in January 2017 heralding a 2.3% reduction in residential burglaries across the capital, in line with an overall reduction in crime figures.

Burglary serves up two portions of trauma to the victims, with both financial and emotional repercussions taking a toll well beyond the event itself on those affected. To avoid the turmoil, it’s essential to be vigilant and reinforce your home security to help prevent them taking place. Fortunately, most of the following steps are quick and easy to follow, taking just a few minutes to implement.

1. Remember to lock up

Keep your doors and windows locked even when you’re just out in the garden. Opportunistic thieves have been known to try front door handles, particularly those of the double-lock UPVC kind that don’t automatically lock when closed. Don’t keep keys in the lock and keep house and car keys well out of reach of a catflap or letterbox.

2. Make friends with your neighbours

Get to know your neighbours and it could pay dividends when someone suspicious arrives. Stay vigilant and pay attention to your local area – spotting when something isn’t right can make all the difference. Joining your local neighbourhood watch can also help to protect your home through a stronger community dynamic – and it could bring down your insurance premiums.

3. Keep things well maintained

That fence that’s falling down at the bottom of the garden? That could be an easy access point for burglars looking to try the back of your house. Try to keep things as secure as possible by fixing any fencing or rickety doors and windows as soon as you can. Keep ladders and tools locked securely away so that they can’t be used to gain entry to your home.

4. Mark your stuff

Improve the chances of recovering your valuables in the sorry event that you are burgled by marking your items with a UV pen and registering them for free at immobilise.com. Doing this could also help the police to secure more prosecutions.

5. Store special items in a safe

Consider investing in a high-quality personal safe for your home. Ideal for storing passports, documents, cash and jewellery, it’ll make things a lot harder for any burglar once they’ve entered your home.

In the 12 months to December 2016, there were a staggering 43,053 burglaries across the capital, down 3.6% from the year before. Together with the police’s new tough, no-nonsense approach to fighting burglary and the simple steps above, you should be able to keep your home out of the burglars’ A to Z of easy pickings hotspots.

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