Householders are too lax when it comes to protecting their homes from thieves, the AA has warned.
AA research found three-quarters of burglars break in through a door, but in only a quarter of cases do thieves have to break the lock, meaning many victims of theft are leaving doors and windows open.
Tom Stringer, head of AA Home Emergency Response, said: "Burglary is largely an opportunistic crime. When burglars look for houses to break into, they'll pass by those that look too much of a challenge - with an alarm or security lighting, for example.
"They'll often carry on until they find somewhere that looks an easy target, perhaps with windows and doors that can be quickly forced."
The report warns that burglars look for householders doing gardening or cutting the grass as they may leave the doors to their home open and not be able to hear someone getting inside.
The AA warned that burglaries are not specific to a certain time of year, dispelling the myth that thieves are more likely to strike at Christmas and during the winter when its darker and Christmas presents may be left out.
Here are some top tips for keeping your home safe all year round:
- Keep your windows and doors locked when you're not home.
- Install security lights can deter burglars in the dark.
- Lock up garden furniture, tools and bikes when they're not being used.
- Don't keep keys close to your door or on the hall table, as thieves can 'fish' them through the letterbox.
- If you are going away, ask a neighbour or friend to make the home not look empty by opening and closing curtains and turning lights on and off.
- Make sure your burglar alarm works.
- Rethink hanging signs like 'beware of the dog', which suggest you might leave your doors open for the pet to go in and out.
- Always shred documents showing your identity, as fraudsters and thieves may go through your bins.
- Mark your valuables with a UV pen, allowing them to be more easily identifiable if stolen.
- Keep valuables in a small safe.
- Keep a note of the serial numbers of cameras, DVD players and other valuables.