Millions of Brits are leaving their windows and doors unlocked, leaving keys in the garden and relying on their dog to keep their home safe, a study has found.
One in five leave their doors unlocked all or most of the time on a typical day and 48 per cent keep the windows open even when they aren’t at home.
And more than half believe their home would be safe if they accidentally left their front door unlocked during the day.
One in 10 hides a key somewhere near the property, including under a plant pot and beneath a garden gnome.
But the trust in the security of their home could be misplaced as the poll of 2,000 adults by Canary Home Security found that one in 10 have been victim to burglars within the past year alone.
More than one in five have been so affected by burglaries they have taken time off work, while over a quarter have experienced sleeping problems and around half said they are less trusting now.
And of those who have been burgled, the effects have lasted long after the event, with one in five saying their children were left unsettled or unhappy, while four per cent have needed counselling.
A spokesman for Canary Home Security said: “Our home is meant to be somewhere we feel safe and secure.
“While it’s great that we are trusting and feel safe enough to go out and leave our windows open and front door unlocked, this is leaving some of our most prized possessions at risk - especially irreplaceable sentimental items.
“But if your home were to be burgled, it’s not just the stolen items you need to worry about.
“The emotional effects can be far reaching and it can be hard to get over the feeling of knowing someone else has been in your home, where you want to feel as safe as possible.
“Insurance may replace the material items, but it can’t re-buy the sentimental things or help you get over the intrusion of having a burglar in your home.”
Seven in 10 consider security at home to be of utmost importance but one in 10 have a key hidden somewhere near the property, including under a plant pot, beneath a garden gnome and even buried in a flower bed.
Others leave it in the garage or outside store room, under the door mat or in the dog house.
Worryingly, more than a third of the population has no special security measures in place to make sure that their possessions are safe.
And 21 per cent rely on their dog to deter burglars and keep their home secure.
Three times as many people think that a strong mechanical lock is more secure than a digital alarm system, and 43 per cent of respondents have never tested the home security they do have.
Canary’s spokesman added: “Having your home broken into can be traumatic, and most people recognise that material items can be replaced, but a feeling of unease in your own home is much harder to deal with.
“In fact, nearly a tenth of people whose homes have been broken into have moved house after the event.
“A Canary system offers peace of mind, with HD night vision and a built-in siren that can be monitored from your smartphone. With home security, prevention is definitely better than cure.”
TOP 10 PLACES PEOPLE LEAVE A KEY:
1. In the garage/outside store room
2. Under a plant pot
3. In a keysafe
4. Buried in the garden
5. Under the mat
6. Under a windowsill
7. Inside a fake lock
8. Under a garden gnome
9. In a dog house
10. Under a garden ornament
TOP 10 EFFECTS OF BURGLARY:
1. A loss of confidence
2. Overly cautious with security
3. Have become less trusting
4. Lost sentimental items
5. Was unable to replace certain items
6. Sleeping problems
7. Took time off work
8. Kids were unsettled or unhappy
9. Pet was unsettled
10. Difficulties with insurers