Although we covered some Halloween & Bonfire Night home safety tips in our Autumn Home Security blog post, there’s a lot more that can be said when it comes to security during Mischief Week (which runs from around 30th October to the 6th November). As it’s Halloween today, we thought we’d give you a rundown of some spooky facts, along with some top preventative tips, which can help you stay safe and secure this week and beyond.
1.There’s a 150% increase in malicious damage to property at Halloween
The majority of trick or treaters are children collecting sweets and enjoying a rare evening out in the dark. Most are harmless – they simply want to dress up as something scary and get some free candy – but there are some who are out to cause trouble. Your home is a bit of a free-for-all during Halloween, especially if you live in a residential area with lots of families. Many people out in the dark, knocking on doors and walking on private property is seen as normal behaviour on the 31st October; the perfect cover for property vandalism.
Thefts from outbuildings, smashed windows and damage to cars are all common crimes at this time of year. It’s thought that the lack of light so early in the day provides a good cover for criminals (the sun sets at about 4:30pm on 31st Oct), as well as the fact that wearing a full costume wouldn’t be seen as unusual.
2.Burglaries over Mischief Week can rise by as much as 57% in some areas
Twin the cover of darkness with the fact that many families are out of the home on both Halloween and Bonfire Night, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a successful burglary. Even if you feel that your home is safe, it’s still worth taking precautions around this time of year. The majority of burglaries are opportunistic, so if a thief believes you may not be at home and they can see a weak spot, you could become a victim.
The dramatic rise in burglaries over Mischief Week means that this is the perfect time to look at your overall level of home security. Where could a thief gain entry? Are there blind spots where they could hide whilst damaging your property in order to get in? What do the crime statistics look like in your area? These are all things you should consider before heading out to enjoy the celebrations.
3. 21% of British households have suffered damage during Mischief Week
Over 5million British households have suffered damage during Mischief Week in the past, which is a huge number of homes. The most common damage comes from eggs being thrown at windows and garden plants, fences and ornaments being removed. Although there’s no sure fire way to prevent anti-social behaviour during this time of year, it’s still important to do what you can in order to make your home look unappealing to vandals and thieves.
How can I protect my property?
- Don’t make it seem like there’s no one at home. Many people do this as they don’t want to participate in trick or treating, but this could act as an invitation to those who think there’s no one in to catch them out. Keep your lights on and simply attach a sign to your gate post or front door to say that you don’t want trick or treaters to visit.
- If you are out in the evening, get your neighbours to keep an eye on your property and ensure you make it look as if someone is there (leaving a car in your driveway, having the radio on and keeping at least one room lit is an effective way to do this). Good outdoor lighting, particularly if it’s activated by motion sensor, could put off thieves and vandals as their actions would be easier to witness.
- Although it’s too late to make any large changes this year, ensuring that your home is as impenetrable as possible is a good move. The obvious prevention is to lock your doors and windows: you’d be surprised at the number of burglaries that happen due to people failing to take this simple precaution! Using extra locks can help.
- If your home has single glazing, then you may want to look into upgrading the glass, as this is not only much warmer, but it’s much tougher too. Having laminated glass can prevent it from being smashed full stop, and is particularly useful where there’s a large sheet of glazing (such as patio doors) or where a burglar could gain access to your home easily (your front or back doors).
- Tidy away anything in your garden which you don’t want to have stolen (such as garden ornaments and tools etc.). Thieves may be looking for something they can use to gain entry, so heavy garden decorations and ladders, for instance, should be stashed away. If you’ve got a shed or other outbuilding then ensuring this is secured properly with a decent padlock or two is important.
- Keep valuables out of sight. Apple products, mobile phones and laptops are all favourite targets for burglars – don’t leave them on view.
- Make sure your property is covered with the right level of insurance for you. If you haven’t mentioned to your insurer that you have expensive tools stored in your shed for example, then you may not be able to claim for these if they are stolen.