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86% of burglars will leave if they hear someone at home

Find out how you can protect against break-ins

86% of burglars will leave if they hear someone at home

New research reveals that most burglars would scarper if they thought they heard you at home, so find out what you can do to deter them when you’re not there.

The research, which was carried out by the University of Portsmouth and supported by Churchill Home Insurance involved interviewing 81 burglars, also found that three-quarters of them had abandoned their attempts to break in or make off with their stolen goods after hearing someone in the house or getting home.

The key message here is that burglars will usually target homes that they think are unoccupied. So there are things you can do to protect yourself from even an attempted break in.

How secure is your home? Take a look at our guide to home security for tips on how to stay safe.

The best burglar alarms

When we conducted our own survey of over 100 ex-burglars we found over 7 in 10 were put off by houses that had alarms and the same percentage would think twice before trying a home with a resident dog.

‘If a property did not have an alarm that would be a definite sign to investigate.’

– Ex-burglar

While we can’t tell you which dog to go for, we can help with you with which burglar alarm brands you should choose.

We surveyed more than 1,800 Which? members about their burglar alarms including brands like ADT, Chubb and Yale, and found that not all are created equal. The best brand scored 79%, 20 percentage points ahead of the worst-reviewed brand. Find out which is which in our best burglar alarm brands.

Burglar alarm costs will vary quite widely depending on the type you get, and the size of your house. To give you an idea, the average price of a wireless alarm with installation is £705, and it’s £551 for a hard-wired one with installation. But an alarm with monitoring and a contract will set you back a bit more.

Head to our full guide to burglar alarm systems for expert advice about how to choose the best one.

CCTV and security lights

If you’ve don’t want a burglar alarm, or have already got one and want to further protect your home, you could consider a CCTV system. Our ex-burglar survey found that nearly half (46%) would be discouraged if they spotted CCTV, even though it’s still fairly niche – only 5% of Which? members we surveyed said they own one. There are a few things to consider, including the type of CCTV system you go for, how many cameras you’d need, and storing footage.

One fifth of the ex-burglars we surveyed said they’d steer clear of homes with security lights. You can also buy timed devices such as lights or a radio that will make it seem as if someone is home when you go out.

Wireless security cameras

Another option is to install wireless security cameras. These will detect motion in your home and stream or record footage of intruders. Some have features like two-way audio and facial recognition.

The downside to these security cameras is that the majority are designed to be used indoors so any unwelcome guests won’t know you’ve got the system until they’re already inside your property. If you specifically want an outdoor wireless security camera, look at our reviews of the Netgear Arlo or Canary Flex.

Other security measures

Other general tips include keeping side and rear boundaries high to make access more tricky, but keep front boundaries low so there are few places for intruders to hide. And don’t underestimate the value of keeping on good terms with your neighbours – having someone keep an eye on your property for you can be very reassuring.

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