Danger of leaving keys in ‘safe’ places

The garden shed is a popular place to hide a key.
The garden shed is a popular place to hide a key.

A new survey released today by UIA Mutual Insurance reveals that when we aren’t leaving our keys with other people, many of us will hide them in hidden locations outside of our house.

The most popular hiding places are under a flower pot (14%), under the doormat (12%) and in the garden shed (7%). According to figures from ONS, 70% of home intruders in the UK gained entry through a household door, and 30% and through a window.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of Brits have given someone a spare key to their home. One in five (22%) UK adults possess a spare key to their neighbour’s house, just under a third (30%) say they pop in to their neighbour’s home to check up on things whilst they’re away, worryingly 10% admit that they have used a spare key to enter their neighbour’s home without their permission.

The research from UIA Mutual Insurance also reveals that 40% do not know the purpose of some of the keys they have lying around the house and almost one in 10 of those surveyed have lost their house keys but not changed the locks, meaning that somebody, somewhere could have access to their home without them even knowing about it.

In addition to leaving house keys with our neighbours, the research reveals we are leaving spare keys with a wide range of people.

Unsurprisingly, our partners, friends and family are the people we entrust the most with a spare key, however the research found that over 600,000 people in the UK have left a key with a work colleague and over a million people have given a key to a friend of a friend and even half a million have trusted the builders with a key.

Jon Craven from UIA Mutual Insurance says “It’s astonishing how many people are so careless with their keys, the home is a very intimate and personal place, and so the consequences of losing or leaving your keys with somebody else are quite drastic. I recommend keeping just one spare key, only sharing it with someone you know well and trust, and remembering to get the key back as soon as you can.”

According to research by the Office of National Statistics, two in 100 households in the UK had been victims of domestic burglary in 2017. Police force crime data recorded that the majority of burglary offences happen in predominantly urban areas. The Metropolitan Police along with Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and West Midlands police forces consistently account for over 40% of domestic burglaries and around 35% of all burglaries recorded by the police.

It also stats that around 70% of domestic burglaries take place during the week, and around 30% take place during the weekend.

Two-fifths of domestic burglaries take place during the morning or afternoon (6am to 6pm), and three-fifths take place during the evening or night (6pm to 6am).