Installing a home security system is becoming increasingly popular and easy for most do it yourselfers while saving money. Some home security companies require a three year contract trapping home owners in.
More than half of Britons (58 per cent) give away spare keys to their home, typically to friends and family, according to a survey by NOP for insurer NIG.
But four per cent of movers do not bother to reclaim their spare keys when they move house.
In properties that are rented out, or have been rented out at some point the problem is worse.
Seven per cent of tenants do not return their spare keys when moving out, increasing the possibility that a stranger has access to your house.
NIG director Adrian Harris said: “This is really quite a worrying result for both home owners and insurers. The fact that so many unclaimed keys are in circulation raises major questions about home security.”
Nearly three-quarters of recipients of spare keys are family members, while 14 per cent are neighbours and eight per cent are friends.
Despite the security risk that it poses, 59 per cent of those surveyed said they did not change the locks when they last moved into a new home.
Mr Harris added: “These results show it makes sense for any new home owners to consider changing their property’s locks to ensure that anyone still holding spare keys can’t get back into the property or can pass them onto someone who may want to break in.”
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Hardly a day goes by without a new story about spam, viruses, spyware, and other hazards of using the Internet. Spammers and malicious hackers work relentlessly to defy computer defenses, expecting that some people haven’t applied the latest security fixes.
With new technology, it is making it more affordable and easier for people to install their own home security system. One company in particular started selling DIY home security systems after the owners were frustrated at the extremely high costs of the larger national home security companies. Code Tech security started offering systems where the do it yourselfer can have a system up and running for a few hundred dollars without signing a contract for monitoring. Many people believe that if a burglar breaks into the house a simple alarm sound will deter most people from sticking around.
That is exactly what Code Tech security offers, a wireless system that the home owner sets up and then allows the system to call up to nine different telephone numbers versus a monitoring system. The homeowner can allow the system to call a cell phone, neighbor, a family member, friends, etc. with their own personal message.
The best selling product for Code Tech security is the “Complete Wireless alarm system” that comes with a Control Panel, a dialer, motion detector, 2 door or window sensors, and a keychain transmitter. Then customers add on additional accessories as needed. For instance, most people add on more window or door sensors.
Three quarters of British homeowners either do not have an alarm system, or do not bother to turn it on, with six people in ten forgetting to ask tradesmen for proper identification, Privilege Home Insurance reveals.
More basic errors are less widespread but worryingly more than one person in three is not changing their locks after losing their keys, 27 per cent are leaving a spare key outside their house and around one homeowner in five does not lock doors and windows when they leave the home, a report for the insurer adds.
And these lapses in security can prove costly at any time.
Churchill Home Insurance today shows that burglars are most likely to strike on Wednesday, costing up to £127 million a week.
“Our findings show that burglars will target homes on week nights as well as weekends and that homes need to be secure at all times, whether people are at home or not,” said Martin Scott, head of home insurance at Churchill.
Friday and Saturday nights are the next most likely time for thieves to strike, while Thursday tops the list for London and the south-east.
“Burglaries can obviously occur at any time but a few simple precautions can make a real difference. Home owners should always be mindful of the risk of burglary and secure windows and doors when going out, even if it is only to visit a neighbour for a few minutes,” Mr Scott added.
Three quarters of people who own or rent a home say its safety is very important to them, with four in ten convinced their property is as safe as it can be, Privilege research finds.
But with one person in six having no idea how many people have keys to their home, there is a gap between perception and reality.
Ian Parker, managing director of Privilege Home Insurance commented: “The gap between people’s perceptions about safety consciousness and the reality is considerable. It seems that many of us are convinced that our homes are safe and yet we are not taking the necessary precautions to keep our homes secure.”
Privilege has created a simple checklist to aid this. The insurer urges homeowners to never leave home without:
Checking all doors and windows are closed and locked
Switching on the security alarm, if you have one
Checking all gas and electrical appliances are switched off and not left on standby
Placing valuables in a safe place
Ensuring fires and candles are extinguished
British homeowners’ top ten safety and security lapses are:
1. Not having, or not using, a burglar alarm – 76 per cent;
2. Not asking tradesmen for identification – 59 per cent;
3. Not bothering to leave a light on when away from home – 48 per cent;
4. Not checking appliances are switched off when they leave the house – 46 per cent;
5. Not bothering to have the locks changed after losing keys – 37 per cent;
6. Leaving spare keys outside the house – 27 per cent;
7. Not having a smoke alarm or not checking it regularly – 27 per cent;
8. Smoking in the home, or allowing others to- 23 per cent;
9. Not locking all doors and windows when leaving – 18 per cent;
10. Having no clue how many people have keys to their home – 14 per cent.