It’s the most obvious place of all, but many householders are still keeping a key under the mat – and criminals know just where to look.
Thousands of homeowners are being burgled each year – and many victims are helping the crooks to do it.
A recent survey has highlighted that nearly 1 in 3 homeowners regularly leave a key hidden outside their home, often in places as obvious as under the mat, a plant pot or the garden gnome.
More than 6,000 burglaries take place every year in the UK in which a thief uses a key to access the property, rather than breaking and entering.
The survey found most people thought it was a safe tactic because they were either not gone for long; they believed they had a fool-proof hiding place or they felt their neighbourhood was ‘safe’ enough to risk it.
Even keys left in the home can be cause for concern. Almost 1 in 5 homeowners leave their keys close to the front door and in plain sight through the letterbox or near an open window.
While the number of burglaries is falling overall, burglaries where the burglar uses a key are increasing.
Seasoned burglars know that people tend to leave a spare key in a handful of places near their door and will often search these before attempting a break-in.
In summary, we would advise everyone to change their key habits and, if you must leave a key outside, think about purchasing an approved key safe.