I’ve been in the security industry for over 30 years. There aren’t many situations, issues, problems, that I haven’t come across, but time and again, I keep hearing people say the same thing over and over and over again.
So, what I want to do today is to bust these myths wide open. I want people to realise that it is worthwhile protecting their home. I want to get to a world where burglars and thieves give up, and go and do something else instead.
When I talk to people, whether it’s friends or strangers, the most common thing that they say to me is that they have nothing worth stealing.
They believe that because they don’t have Rolex watches, they don’t have 70” flatscreen TVs, and they certainly don’t have any Fabergé Eggs and diamond tiaras hanging around at home, they don’t need to worry about securing their home.
And they’re totally wrong.
Because very very few burglars select a house to burgle because they think they’re going to find a Rolex.
Whilst it’s true that the most common thing to be stolen in a burglary is jewellery, it doesn’t matter to a burglar what type of jewellery it is – if they find a Cartier necklace, fantastic, but if not a ring from somewhere more reasonably priced will do just as well. It’s all easily sellable – we’ve all seen the adverts claiming to give top prices for unwanted gold and silver. That’s the key thing for a burglar – how easy is it to sell what they take?
Loose cash is the another favorite item for burglars. With that, they don’t even have to worry about selling it on, it’s cold hard cash, that’s far better off in their pocket than in yours, as far as they’re concerned.
The other items, that I often hear that have been stolen in a burglary, are things like CDs, DVDs and DVD players, games consoles and their games. Again, these are all small items that can easily hidden in a bag or a big pocket of a coat, and easily moved on for a quick bit of cash.
Who amongst us can honestly, hand-on-heart, say that they have none of these items at home? Very few of us, I’ll wager. The vast majority of us have something worth stealing.
The second big myth for obliterating is the one where people say that if a burglar really wants to break in, then they’ll break in.
People are rather missing the point here. OK, it’s probably true that given enough time and a guarantee of not being disturbed, then they can get into any house. But burglars don’t have time, and they don’t have a guarantee of not being disturbed. They want to be in and out quickly. As quickly as they possibly can.
So, if they’re faced with a choice between a house with a window wide open, and one with all the windows shut, which house are they going to choose? The one with the easy way in, of course. The smart-alecs amongst you would say that they wouldn’t go for the house with the window wide-open, because obviously that means that someone is in. Well, no.
Astoundingly, according the Office for National Statistics, 58% of burglaries occur when someone is at home. 26% of burglary victims reported seeing the burglar in their home.
So let’s consider a burglar choosing between two houses, with all doors and windows closed. They still want the quickest and easiest way in and out. Put yourself in the burglar’s shoes. Which would you choose – the house with decent locks and an alarm, or the house without?
If you need any more evidence, have a look at this video.
Which brings me to my next myth – people regularly argue with me that having an alarm system, with the siren on the front of the house, advertises to a burglar that you have something worth protecting, and makes you more vulnerable.
Well, I’ve already demonstrated how everyone, or at least virtually everyone, has something that is worth stealing. There’s no difference, in that regard, between a home with a security system and a home without. And burglars know this.
So let’s look again at the situation from a burglar’s point of view. Which is the easiest house, which is most likely to provide the least risk? Clearly, it’s the house without the alarm which is the more vulnerable.
And statistics back this up. A recent survey revealed that 81% of convicted burglars admitted that they were deterred from targetting a house by the presence of an alarm siren on the wall of the home.
Now, I appreciate that people don’t want to think about their home security, they don’t want to consider the possibility that they might become a victim of burglary, they’d far rather be planning their next holiday, or what the kids are going to get for Christmas.
But until people do think about it, and people realise that taking relatively simple steps makes a massive difference, we’re not going to get my utopia of a burglary-free world.