If you have been unfortunate enough to have your home or car burgled, you may be curious as to why you were targeted. In hindsight, you may be wondering whether there are any additional security measures that you could have taken.

To understand more about how criminals work, we spoke to a panel of ex-convicts.

The eagle-eyed panelists offer their top tips on how to deter burglars from your most prized assets and help prevent you from becoming a target.

Be smart

Smart home and car systems don’t just offer convenience for the family, they can also offer you protection against burglars.

89 per cent of our panelists said that they would be deterred from targeting a smart home, and a further 67 per cent stated they would avoid connected cars.

Thieves are opportunists and prefer to avoid tricky break-ins. So be smart and keep your home and car connected.

CCTV

Our findings reveal just how important CCTV is in protecting your prized possessions. The panel stated that CCTV cameras are the biggest deterrents for thieves.

However, despite this, only 14 per cent of UK adults say that they have CCTV cameras installed in their home. To reduce the odds of being targeted, CCTV should be at the top of your list of things to consider. What’s more, if you are targeted, you could gain valuable evidence.

We spoke with bank robber turned journalist Noel ‘Razor’ Smith, who stressed the importance of taking simple steps to keep your valuables safe:

“As a former criminal, I know all the tricks homeowners use to keep their homes safe, that’s why I find it shocking that the Co-op’s research reveals 28% of us don’t take any precautions whatsoever. Luckily there are some very simple steps everyone can take to make our homes more secure and keep our valuables safe”

Attract attention

Unsurprisingly, criminals don’t like attracting unwanted attention. Thus, if you can gain attention at the point of thieves approaching your property, you are more likely to keep it safe.

Both the sounds of a barking dog and a car alarm ranked 2nd in the top 10 home and vehicle burglary preventions (full list below). This shows man’s best friend can offer more than just companionship when it comes to protecting your property.

Lighting

Lighting has proven to be an effective tool in home security: both motion activated lights and street lights act as useful deterrents. Unfortunately, only 24 per cent of UK adults say that they have motion activation lights installed – which highlights a great risk.

Try to evaluate the lighting in your home. Whether this means installing motion activation lights or simply leaving the TV on whilst you pop to the shops, (TV light came 4th in the top 10 deterrents) lighting is an effective means of keeping criminals at bay.

How to keep your home safe

Additional findings show 55 per cent of people sleep with their window open at night and 24 per cent of people leave their doors unlocked whilst they are home. What’s more, 20 per cent of people say they actively share their holiday snaps on social media – displaying their unattended property to criminals.

Ensuring your windows and doors are locked will help decrease interest from thieves. Not to mention keeping quiet on social media while away from home. Improving the security of your home doesn’t have to mean expensive gadgets or considerable effort.

The table below highlights the top 10 deterrents for both home and car thieves –

Top 10 deterrents for home thieves: Top 10 deterrents for car thieves:
1.     CCTV camera

2.     Sound of a barking dog

3.     Strong heavy doors

4.     TV which is turned on

5.     Locked Upvc windows

6.     Cars parked on driveway

7.     Overlooked property

8.     Surrounding fences

9.     Gates outside of the property

10.  Motion activated security lights

1.     CCTV street camera

2.     Car alarm

3.     Street lighting

4.     Car parked on a driveway

5.     Newer car

6.     Steering lock device

7.     Older car

8.     Neighbourhood Watch areas

9.     Car parked on a dark alleyway

10.  Immobiliser

How do you keep your property safe? Are you going to incorporate any of these tips into your home? Join the conversation over on Facebook and Twitter.

*Survey of 12 ex-convicts was conducted by Unlock on behalf of Co-op Home Insurance.
** Study of 2000 UK adults conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of Co-op Insurance