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The 13 Worst Home Security Mistakes

Neglecting to secure your entrances is one of the worst mistakes

Making a mistake is costly – the average burglary victim loses over £3,000

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You don’t want to be burgled. You don’t even want to be targeted. The idea of coming home to find that your most personal sanctuary has been violated is horrible enough – but unfortunately, it’s more likely to happen while you’re indoors. A government-run Crime Survey for England and Wales in March 2019 found that 58% of the time, someone is home when an intruder breaks in.

What’s more, three out of five burglaries are successful, leading the average victim to lose £3,200 – and you could lose more than just your possessions. Burglars use force or violence against 26% of victims, according to home security statistics that same government-run survey.

There’s also only a slim chance that the thief will be caught. Metropolitan Police data shows that the percentage of burglaries which lead to a conviction fell in the year up to April 2019, from 3.7% to 3.1%. That means that if your home is burgled, there is only a one in 32 chance of the police catching the person who stole from you.

This is especially concerning in light of a 2004 Danish government-funded study, which found that if your home is burgled once, it’s five-and-a-half times more likely to be burgled again within the next year.

If you don’t want to become a statistic, complete this form to compare home security quotes from trusted specialists.


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Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to make your home less attractive to thieves. 21% of burglars enter homes through an unlocked door or window, which shows how cutting out simple home security mistakes can protect you against criminals.

Also, people who don’t have at least basic home security are three times more likely to be burgled than those who do. Take some easy steps towards a safer future by avoiding the following home security mistakes, and by filling in the form at the top of this page to see what deals you could benefit from.

The 13 Worst Home Security Mistakes

Home security mistakes

The most common home security mistakes, which are all included in the graphic above, can be divided into two categories:

1. Those which freely give burglars information about how vulnerable and valuable your belongings are.

2. Those which help the burglar to physically break into your home.

Don’t give the burglar your information

When it comes to the first category of home security mistakes, remember that you provide thieves with crucial details about your home every time you open your curtains. This is an easy way for criminals to assess whether anyone’s in, and if there are any valuables within easy reach.

On that note, don’t put your most precious possessions on display. Your home isn’t a museum, so don’t treat it like one. It is still your sanctuary though, so don’t desecrate it with a fake alarm. Veteran burglars will know it’s not real, which may even make them more likely to target you. Instead of using unhelpful methods, deter them effectively.

Did You Know?

43% of victims know their burglar.

When you do leave your home, whether it’s to go on holiday or to the cinema, make sure to hide the fact that your place is completely unoccupied. If you’re leaving for a weekend or longer, make sure to cancel your milk and newspaper orders, and see if you can get a helpful neighbour to collect your mail. Don’t post about your holiday on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, either. People are watching – highlighted by the fact that 43% of victims know their burglar.

Don’t allow the burglar to break in

The second category of home security mistakes involves the ones which turn you into a kind of ‘burglary assistant’. These include oversights like supplying easy hiding places, and leaving tools, ladders or rocks on the ground outside your home.

Any of these objects can be used by criminals to access your home. A 2012 survey of 422 burglars by Professor Joseph B. Kuhns of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte found that screwdrivers, crowbars, and hammers are the most common tools that burglars carry. Don’t supply them for free.

Likewise, resist the temptation to put a key under the mat, or somewhere else nearby. It would be wonderful to live in a world where this was a good idea, but we don’t. There were 1.3 million household thefts in England and Wales during 2018. It’s not worth the risk. Leave your spare key with a neighbour or loved one, and don’t fall prey to one of the most common home security mistakes.

Pros and cons of home security


  • Helps keep you and your loved ones safe
  • Protects you from an average financial loss of more than £3,000
  • Peace of mind
  • If you're burgled, it's 5.5 times more likely to happen again


  • The initial cost

In the same vein of not allowing burglars easy access to your most prized items, make sure you lock everything. Lock your doors, your windows, your garage, your shed, your wine cellar, your secret bunker – everything. This also applies to your smart devices, from your phone to your smart bulbs: lock them, and upgrade them with the latest patches. Your digital home is just as valuable as your physical one, if not more so.

And of course, even if you have one of the many different types of home security system – and you should, since that study of 422 burglars found that 60% would be completely put off breaking into a property with an alarm – you have to remember to arm it. Even the best systems are useless if they’re not switched on.

Now, to sum everything up into a list that’ll be easy to recall, here are all the mistakes you should avoid when it comes to protecting your home from burglars.

The 13 Worst Home Security Mistakes

And just to recap…

1. Leaving your doors unlocked
2. Keeping a spare key under the mat
3. Leaving ladders, tools, or rocks lying around outside
4. Making it obvious that you’ve gone on holiday
5. Posting about your holiday on social media
6. Leaving the curtains open for burglars to see who’s in
7. Putting your priceless possessions on show
8. Ignoring smart devices’ alerts to download security upgrades
9. Leaving your home dark and quiet when you’re out
10. Forgetting to turn on your security system
11. Supplying burglars with excellent hiding spots
12. Getting a fake alarm
13. Forgetting to protect your garage and shed

Next steps

Now that you’ve read through our exhaustive advice, you should know all the home security mistakes to avoid. All that’s left is to do is to actually get a home security system that will take care of everything and everyone you love. For all the best options, simply fill in this form and get a tailored quote.

Written by:
josh jackman
Josh has written about eco-friendly home improvements and climate change for the past four years. His work has been displayed on the front page of the Financial Times, he's been interviewed by BBC One's Rip-Off Britain, and he regularly features in The Telegraph and on BBC Radio.
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