HALF of people in Wales (47 per cent) admit to keeping a weapon in their home to protect themselves and their property against intruders this winter, a new survey revealed yesterday.
Researchers found that adults in Wales feel nervous when they are home alone, and therefore keep some form of household item close at hand to defend themselves against potential intruders.
Most popular items reserved as possible weapons should the need arise include heavy torches, baseball bats and walking sticks. While others would reach for objects such as umbrellas, golf clubs, frying pans and even rolling pins.
The poll of 2000 adults by security firm ADT found that Brits would also consider using mops, dog leads, and hoover ends to defend themselves against an intruder.
With the average person’s home broken into at least twice and nearly two thirds of the break-ins in Wales happening when at least one person was at home (62 per cent), the study shows people are resorting to make-shift protection.
It was revealed a quarter of burglaries take place in Wales during the dark winter months (23 per cent) with a third of those polled (31 per cent) admitting to feeling unsafe, with the emotional damage much worse than any material loss.
After robberies had taken place, a sixth of homeowners also admitted to feeling that their property wasn’t their ‘home’ anymore (15 per cent).
Mark Shaw of ADT said: “We are shocked by these results and that people would try to protect themselves in this way.
“It is understandable that people feel vulnerable at the moment particularly with recent data showing a rise in property crime after a 20 year decline but the key to keeping your home safe is always about prevention.
“It is about keeping intruders out of your home and avoiding taking unnecessary risks or confronting burglars.
“Burglars are professionals but research suggests thieves are less likely to target homes with alarm systems.
“When people have been targeted and their home invaded, it can have a lasting effect on their lives but by taking professional security measures people can sleep more soundly without worrying about intruders.’’
The survey revealed that despite its importance, home security in Wales is overlooked with less than a quarter (21 per cent) of respondents saying that they have a burglar alarm or other security devices installed in their homes.
Hiding weapons around the house is just one of the ways homeowners are choosing to keep themselves safe, as researchers discovered a host of other unusual safety measures adopted by adults.
Sleeping with a dog in the room, putting up a ‘beware of the dog sign’ when you don’t have a dog, and putting a chair under the door handle are some of the other ways people choose to feel safe. While others prefer to leave music blaring all day and night, waving to imaginary housemates as they enter the house and going to bed fully clothed.
Other respondents believe that sleeping in glasses, keeping a phone by the bed and making sure the curtains are drawn help them feel secure. Double-checking all the windows are shut, asking the neighbours to check on the property while you’re away and leaving a computer web cam running all night were also named as safety techniques.
Borrowing a friend’s dog for the night and keeping neighbours aware of comings and goings were also adopted by respondents in the study.
Mark Shaw of ADT added: “We understand that homeowners, more than ever before, want to keep their homes and families safe.
“Intruders operate as professionals but the last thing they want is confrontation and homeowners should never put themselves at risk or resort to violence.
“Simple security measures such as keeping doors and windows locked, investing in a security light or a monitored alarm will help ensure householders and their possessions are kept safe.
“When a burglary does happen, it’s not just about what they take, it’s what they leave behind. With Christmas fast approaching, most homeowners will have security at the front of their minds and we are urging homeowners to ensure their home is safe this festive season.”