Burglary rates may be dropping, but millions of British still worry about break-ins, according to the latest study of UK attitudes to home safety.
Legal and General's study entitled "Under Lock and Key", which involved more than 4,000 people from across the U.K., shows that barely half of British (57 percent) feel safer in their own homes than they do outside. Almost one third of people worry about break-ins and 14 percent have nightmares or worry about finding an intruder in their home.
This has led to people wanting more home security. Many would like to have more security than a simple burglar alarm to protect themselves, loved ones and possessions. More than half (52 percent) of British have or would like to use surveillance, 57 percent have or would like to use motion detectors and almost a third have or would like to use a private security patrol. And more than a third (37 percent) of people even say that, if money were no object, they would like a “panic room” in their home.
"It used to be the case that having four walls around us was enough to feel safe. Today, though, many British are looking at what technologies and services are out there to give them more peace of mind," said Garry Skelton, Marketing Director of Home Insurance at Legal & General.
"Our homes and belongings are a part of our identity and the fear of them being invaded or taken by a burglar is understandably powerful. If people feel unsafe in their homes, then just taking sensible safety precautions could make them feel much safer."
Under Lock and Key
More than a quarter (27 percent) of British are already locking their precious belongings away. More than one in 10 (12 percent) owns a traditional safe, 9 percent own a locked box they hide, 6 percent own another type of safety storage device and a third (35 percent) would consider getting one.
The top items people most want to protect are:
passport (58 percent)
birth certificate (49 percent)
money (35 percent)
jewelry (34 percent)
insurance policy (31 percent)
wedding certificate (28 percent)
The findings suggest that people are likely to protect important items or items of high worth, as well as belongings of sentimental value. For example, 3 percent of people use a safe or other secure storage device to store drawings done by their children.
The research also revealed that keeping things under lock and key is not the only safety measure British are using to protect their belongings against burglary. Despite Home Office statistics showing that crime rates, including burglaries, are falling, people continue to have structured routines around safety to achieve peace of mind. More than half of people (53 percent) doublecheck doors and windows are locked before they go to sleep, and another 14 percent repeat this ritual more than twice.
Skelton said, "Making our homes secure is key to giving us peace of mind. Often the most effective ways of keeping a home safe are the simplest and cheapest. Get to know your neighbors, for example, and ensure your doors and windows are locked and an alarm is activated."
Top 10 Home Security and Safety Tips
1. Use security devices all the time.
2. Check that your burglar alarm works or consider installing one if you don't have one already. These should be regularly checked in accordance with the installer's or manufacturer's recommendations, which normally suggest annually.
3. Check window and door locks carry the British Standards Kitemark
4. Lock doors and windows when leaving home, even if it's only for a few minutes or when upstairs
5. Make sure your shed and any other outbuildings are secure.
6. Don't advertise your absence with notes to tradesmen or friends left in obvious places. Cancel milk and papers when on holiday and ask a neighbor, friend or relative to push mail through the letterbox so that it can't be seen.
7. Prune shrubs and hedges near the property to minimize the cover burglars may use to hide.
8. Make sure wheeled trash receptacles are secured as they can be used as an alternative ladder
9. Don't leave valuables in view
10. Don't let strangers into your home without proof of identity