Although rural crime rates are typically lower than crimes in small towns and cities (with domestic burglary rates at around 13.1 and 7.7 per 1,000 population for urban and rural areas, respectively), reported a theft in the countryside has been rising three times faster than in the rest of the country (up by 33 per cent, compared to 12 per cent across the UK).
The good news is that, regardless of whether your home is surrounded by multistorey buildings or rolling hills, many crimes could be prevented by implementing a number of simple but effective steps to ensure your home and belongings are secure. This includes adopting some safer practices, putting in place some deterrent measures and installing some home security equipment like a burglar alarm or an external key safe. Here, we share a few handy tips on how you could improve your home security and help reduce urban and rural crime.
Most domestic offences happen in neighbourhoods lacking social solidarity and organisation, where neighbours may be less alarmed by strangers and subsequently might not intervene. Higher levels of poverty, drug abuse and unemployment in cities can often lead to crime.
Residential burglary is the highest committed crime after violence against a person in rural settings, with an average of 7 offences per 1,000 population.
Unsurprisingly, the common rural crime is also burglary (including gun theft), followed by theft of farm equipment, vehicles and machinery, livestock-related crimes, and fly-tipping.
To outsmart a burglar, it helps to think like one. Whilst you may have already heard that nearly half of the burglaries in the UK are opportunistic, the following few facts may surprise you: a staggering 21% of burglaries with entry happened through an unlocked front door, and 6% of burglars had a key3. Furthermore, 33% of burglars were well known to the victim, and 16% were known by sight or to spoken to previously.
This highlights the importance of keeping your door always locked (that means even when you’re in!), only sharing a key with people you trust and having as much control over your key whereabouts as possible. We also recommend keeping the number of keys ‘in circulation' to a minimum. This is even more significant when managing an Airbnb property where many people need to have access to the key, including a cleaner, maintenance personnel and other service providers, and a high number of guests.
A Secured by design key safe is a safe and cost-effective means to share home access with your trusted circle with just a single key, eliminating the need for multiple key copies and reducing the likelihood of keys getting lost, copied or misused.
‘Secured by Design’ is an official UK police initiative that only certifies products that improve home security. As well as being police approved, our Supra C500 key safe is the UK’s most secure mechanical device, having attained the LPS1175 Issue 8 A5 security certification from Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB). To achieve this level of physical security, it had to undergo stringent independent attack testing, which has not been matched by any other key storage device in the UK, except for our own Supra P500 key safe.
Not all key safes award the same level of physical attack standards to ensure your key is secure. Opting for independently tested key safes that have both ‘Secure by Design’ and LPCB accreditations will ensure that your key holding devices offer adequate levels of home protection. These third-party accreditations are by most leading UK home insurers. However, home insurance policies differ greatly; we recommend that you always check with your provider to make sure that your specific model of key safe is covered.
As most of the crimes are ‘spur of the moment’, burglars like to target properties where they’re less likely to be seen or disturbed, often using tools or equipment found outside your property to force entry (providing you’ve locked your front door and don’t keep a key under the doormat).
As well as considering a lockbox to control your key circulation, you may want to consider other home security devices such as installing a visible burglar alarm, CCTV cameras or internal motion sensors.
If you’re going out, use a light timer or smart lighting to give the impression that you’re home. Never leave keys in locks and always close and bolt windows. Make sure gates and sheds are fitted with strong locks and are always secured (by the way, we also offer a portable key safe, which is super convenient for securing lockable access points like gates).
And last but not least, be friendly with your neighbours and look out for each other. Whether you live in a bustling city or a small rural community, having neighbours who can keep an eye on your property is one of the best surveillance systems you can get. If you trust your neighbour, you could also let them have the code to your key safe so they can check the property when you’re away in case of any suspicious activity.