Leaving your keys in a place easily accessible to a burglar can be extremely costly. Just last week, Gardai arrested several burglars nicknamed the ‘fishermen’ who were famous for stealing car keys from unsuspecting motorists by using an extendable rod through the victim’s letter box. When it comes to your home it’s better to be safe than sorry. According to the Central Statistics office, there was a 9% increase in burglaries and related offences between 2010 and 2012. In an AA Home Insurance poll of over 9,200 people, it was discovered that many people still leave their spare house key where burglars can find it; under the mat or plant pot, in the porch or the letter box or on the door frame. In fact, 542 of those polled said they left their spare key in a garage or garden shed.
Conor Faughnan, Director of Policy in the AA said “it’s really quite dangerous leaving your house key where it can be found by the wrong person. There are some very obvious places like under the plant pot. It might have been OK in Ireland years ago, when everyone knew their neighbours but burglary figures have risen in the last few years and you can’t be too careful.”
Of those who answered the AA poll question, many admitted that they often had to leave out a key for their children who would be coming in late at night without one. Most preferred to use the garden shed or the garage and there were others who preferred to leave their house key under an ornament a bin or a garden sleeper. Two of the people polled said they hid their key under the gravel of their driveway, which perhaps wouldn’t be the easiest to find at night.
There were also some very different hiding places such as in a garden shrub or in the weed killer; probably best to wash your hands after though. Another person who took the poll suggested making use of the kids toys scattered around the garden by hiding the key under a toy car. Placing it in the dogs kennel or attaching it to the German Shepherd’s collar were quite inventive suggestions too.
“While these ideas are very good, they aren’t fool proof. I have a colleague whose German Shepherd was drugged during a burglary. You never know who might see you dig out that key from the plant pot or retrieve it from the garage, only to remember where it is when everyone is out of the house” says Faughnan. “It would be far safer to leave a spare key with a trusted friend, relative or neighbour.”
To help keep your house secure, AA Home Insurance offers this advice: