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Batting against burglars

A price comparison website has suggested that nearly half of British people (49pc) keep a household item as weapon to defend themselves from burglars.

The findings from the insurance price comparison site Confused.com suggest that of those who admit to owning some form of weapon, two-thirds (66pc) say that they are not afraid to use it in self-defence against an intruder in the event of a break-in.

And the most popular household item to double-up as a weapon? A baseball or cricket bat (16 per cent), followed by a heavy tool of some sort (12pc). However, some people will arm themselves with less obvious weapons, including pots and pans (10pc) or a torch (7pc). Men are more likely than women to arm themselves against an intruder (54pc to 45pc), with women opting instead for a dog (18pc) to scare off trespassers.

Many UK householders are taking added security measures to guard against being faced with the prospect of an intruder. Nearly half of Brits have fitted extra door locks (47pc) to keep burglars out, a third have installed a burglar alarm (31pc) and a fifth (20pc) have introduced self-timed lights to deter thieves.

However this fear of intruders seems to be backed up by the research, which shows that three in ten people in the UK (30pc) have been a victim of burglary, with 39pc of people being in the house when the break-in occurred.

How people defend their properties against burglars has long sparked debate. Householders who react with force when confronted by burglars are to get more legal protection, according to comments made by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling last year. “Grossly disproportionate” force will still be against the law in England and Wales, but the bar will be higher than the current “proportionate” force test. But the question remains as to what proportional force is and how the courts make judgements on a reaction to someone breaking into your home.

According to data from Confused.com, claims for thefts from the home are slightly higher during the summer months (June-August) than during the winter (December to February). This could be down to the fact that more homes are left unoccupied over the summer as people enjoy their holidays – nearly a quarter of victims (23pc) were on holiday when their home was broken into

Summer burglaries could also be attributed to a more relaxed attitude adopted by people over the summer months, as people socialise in their gardens and enjoy the summer sunshine. According to the research, more than a quarter of burglaries (27pc) occur as a result of the intruder entering through an open door or window.

It seems this blasé attitude to home security is being adopted by too many people, with one in five Brits (20pc) admitting that they don’t have any security measures in place to deter burglars. A fifth of burglary victims (22pc) did not have home insurance in place at the break-in time.

Gareth Lane, Head of Home Insurance at Confused.com says: “Our research shows the extremes that some householders would go to in order to protect their property from intruders. However, while it’s natural for many to look out for their family and their belongings, we do not recommend anyone resorts to violence as you could be putting yourself and others at risk.

“It is far better to ensure that you have the maximum amount of home security that you can. Carrying out simple security measures, such as keeping doors and windows locked, can help ensure householders and their possessions are kept safe. It is also important to make sure you have adequate home insurance in place, so that your valuables are protected should the worst happen.”

Notes

Figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll Research on behalf of the price comparison service Confused.com. An online poll of 2,000 nationally representative sample of UK adults, age 18-plus. Conducted between June 30 and July 2, 2013. According to home insurance claims data from Confused.com dating from 2007-2012 (6 years in total), there are more claims for thefts from the home during the summer months – June, July August = 4,617 compared to the winter months Dec, Jan, Feb = 4,537.


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