The survey, carried out on behalf of Ageas found that homes across the UK have an average of £1223 of valuables such as TVs, other electronic goods, antiques and works of art that are clearly displayed for would-be burglars to see through home windows. The study, conducted among 2000 adults for Ageas by Populus, also found that nearly one in five people (18%) said that as much as £2,000 or more worth of valuables could be seen by a passer-by looking through a window. One in three people (35%) said that valuables worth more than £1000 could be seen.
Mark Cliff, Managing Director from Ageas Insurance said that ‘caution about valuables being visible to passers-by is not just for Christmas. We are often reminded during the festive season not to stack presents under the tree in view of the window but it seems that for the rest of the year we inadvertently provide a veritable shop window display for burglars. And with the lighter nights we’re more likely to leave curtains undrawn for longer, so now is the time to take stock and exercise caution.’
Roy Rudham, Chairman of UK Neighbourhood Watch Trust, which gets 15,000 visits to its website each day said: ‘ People should treat their homes like they treat their cars – don’t leave valuables on show, lock the doors and make sure you are insured. If you were to lock your home how easy would it be for you to get in? If you can easily gain entry, then a burglar will be in a lot faster than you.’
Top tips for homeowners include ensuring that expensive electronic games, laptops and other valuables are kept out of sight of windows and that all goods are marked with a security pen and properly recorded and photographed. With net curtains being less fashionable in recent years, experiment with the angle of any blinds fitted to allow light in; a view from inside but no view from outside is worth considering. Ageas has teamed up with The Neighbourhood Watch Trust to provide top tips to reducing the likelihood of becoming a target for burglars. Brokers can download the factsheet to hand out to their customers at http://www.ageas.co.uk