Burglaries increase by 35% during winter – but smart home security can protect you. Here's how

Smart home security plus all the usual wise precautions can make your home safer from burglars than ever, despite increasing intrusion rates

Lightwave burglar
(Image credit: Lightwave)

Is your home security ready for winter? New research by smart home technology manufacturer Lightwave has revealed that burglaries increase by an average of 35 per cent during winter, with the longer, darker nights providing cover for criminal opportunists and making it easier to spot unoccupied homes.

So if you're heading on holiday this winter – either for a bit of sun or to visit friends and family over the festive period – you may want to think about how you intend on protecting your home. Our top recommendation? Making the most of smart technology. We've shared tips below on the must-dos and the worthwhile must-haves.

1. Ensure all your windows and doors are locked

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This one may seem super obvious, but you might be surprised how many of us forget to lock our windows and doors, ultimately leaving our homes vulnerable to intruders. 

No matter how small a window, and whether you're in or out, you need to ensure it's locked with both locks and stops. Failure to do so gives opportunists direct access to your home. And don't ever assume your window is too small to grant access or that you being in will stop them... determined burglars will find a way. 

2. Keep valuable possessions out of sight

Another obvious measure that (too many) of us forget – it's super important to remove any valuable possessions out of sight – or put them under lock and key. And that doesn't just mean ensuring that they're not right in front of the window, but properly out of sight. Burglars will have a proper snoop given the chance, and if they come in looking for car keys, they'll head straight for the hall table. 

3. Use smart lighting to mimic occupancy 

This is where smart technology really comes in handy. By replacing a regular bulb with a smart bulb – or connecting an existing light system to a smart plug – you'll be able to control when your lights are turned on and off, from any location, by simply syncing your smart device to your smart phone.

Can't be bothered with turning your lights on and off when you should be enjoying your time away? No problem, many devices offer the option to set lighting schedules instead.

Interested? Learn more about our pick of the best smart lighting gadgets. Or, browse our pick of the best smart lightbulbs.

4. And smart blinds if you want to go all out

Remember when we wrote about Ikea launching a range of affordable smart blinds? Well, we spoke about enhancing home security then, and we're here to reassert the point now.

Much like smart lighting, it's super easy to use smart blinds to give the impression that someone's home, even when that's not the case. And the option to set schedules? They've got that covered, too. 

5. Invest in a smart security camera

Investing in a quality smart security camera – or video doorbell – is another great way to enhance your home security set-up. Aside from being able to provide the police with footage, should your home ever be burgled, they act as a great deterrent for criminal activity in the first place.

In fact, this theory has been proven to be so successful that many police forces are handing out free video doorbells in a bid to reduce low level crime, across the country. Browse our pick of the best video doorbells if you're looking for an easy way to enhance your home security.

Speaking about the research and how smart technology can help enhance home security, John Shermer, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Lightwave comments, 'Improvements in smart home technology have advanced to provide homeowners with an extra layer of control, including smart locks, security cameras, remote-control lighting and power ecosystems which can be easily retro-fitted into the home. For anyone worried about break-ins this winter, we want them to know there are small, inexpensive changes they can make to their homes to help improve security and deter thieves.'

Emily Shaw

Emily first (temporarily) joined the Real Homes team while interning on her summer break from university. After graduating, she worked on several publications before joining Real Homes as Staff Writer full time in mid-2018. She left the brand in 2020 to pursue another career, but still loves a second-hand bargain and sourcing unique finds to make her rented flat reflect her personality.