So, who’s watching the house while you are away?
Figures for burglary and housebreaking (there is a legal difference but that doesn’t matter if someone steals from your home) have been falling for 20 years.
It’s due to better security – we’re more conscious of locking doors, and fitting extra bolts while it’s harder now to remove window panes with razor blades.
It’s also down to falling values of one time theft favourites. DVD players are now virtually worthless second hand, laptops may need work before a sale to unquestioning buyers, and television sets are too big to carry away easily and are often bolted to walls.
But while this fall is welcome, there is another, more disturbing trend – the targeted burglary.
Thieves look for outward signs of wealth – jewellery, expensive watches and pricey cars – and then burgle those homes hoping to find something easy to move and easy to sell. Rings and necklaces and timepieces all fit the bill.
In some cases, thieves by-pass electronic goodies and go straight to bedrooms where they expect to find drawers or safes containing valuables. They may remove safes to smash open later.
One answer is installing closed circuit television. While some suggest that cameras are an advert that you have valuables, and they are little help if thieves wear masks or hoods, they can help police in finding burglars – including those who break into neighbouring premises – and, more importantly, serve as a good deterrent.
Besides worrying about police looking at footage later on, housebreakers also fear that home owners with a camera might have spent more money on other safeguards – thieves always want a fast in and out.
Which? has been looking into CCTV for the security-conscious homeowner. How much you spend on a system can vary widely.
At the very basic end, you can spend a tenner or so on a dummy camera, which may fool burglars, especially at night.
After that, your outlay could be as little as £20 for one wired camera all the way up to nearly £500 for a top of the range vandal and weatherproof device. You’ll also need to buy wiring, and a recorder to capture the images.
You can buy wireless cameras but Which? suggests that these are vulnerable to interference from other devices such as routers, microwaves and cordless phones. They stop working if your internet connection is lost.
Is it worth investing in cameras to keep your home secure?