These days, the public security situation in Hong Kong is a little worrying. There has been an increase in the cases of home break-ins and burglaries. In early March, a woman living alone at Heng On Estate, Ma On Shan didn't properly lock her front door and nearly got strangled to death by a man who broke in. Earlier this May, another woman living by herself had her house at Shek Lei Estate, Kwai Chung looted. What's worse, she was sexually assaulted inside her own home. Last but not least, one user of a popular online forum shared a photo of a marking outside of their flat. Most likely to be left there by a burglar, the 'X' in the photo symbolized that a home break-in is in the works!
Burglars from the Mainland leave behind similar markings to burglars in Hong Kong
How do I secure my home from a break-in?
While some break-ins will “only” result in items being stolen, sometimes burglars may also destroy the contents of the house or apartment, and windows and doors while trying to break in. Burglars usually go for cash, valuables, and other easy-to-sell items such as jewelry, watches, and electronics (e.g. laptops, tablets, cell phones, and photographic equipment). To prevent this from happening to your home, read our practical home security tips below.
1. Install a more secure lock
At certain public housing estates in Tin Shui Wai, there have been complaints of using just one key to unlock the doors to multiple homes. In the recent Shek Hei House burglary, the suspect also holds one such key. In fact, they can unlock the metal gates of a good portion of flats on the same floor.
The Consumer Council of Hong Kong finds that most occupants of newly-built estates opt to use the original locks provided by the housing developers. Some door locks are from the same brand but paired with different keys. Having said that, the burglar might have a modified key on hand, so locking your door may not be enough to prevent a break-in.
As a result, we recommend switching to a more secure door lock. These door locks have a complicated design so it's not easy to pry them open. Burglars prefer easy jobs over difficult ones, so it lowers the chance of your house being broken into.
2. Don’t make the obvious mistakes
Do you hide your key under the doormat or the flower pot? These tactics are outdated and unwise. Sometimes, our list of careless mistakes never seems to see an end in sight. It includes not locking the front door, or entering our home but leaving the house key still inserted in the door lock. Such simple mishaps can cost you a fortune if a criminal spots your mistakes.
3. Be vigilant
You should pay attention to people who linger around your house or neighborhood. The same applies to strangers visiting your home. Several examples include repairmen and those who come in to check your water meter. It doesn't hurt to check their identity to ensure their legitimacy. Police report that in almost half of the burglary cases, someone first appears in the house to conduct so-called theft intel.
4. Install window grills
Aside from the front door, windows are another easy way for burglars to sneak in, especially for village houses and low-level flats. As a result, you must install window grills or iron bars and make sure they firmly fit into the wall. Install good quality window locks for extra security.
5. Fake your presence
The bulk of apartment burglaries occur during the nighttime, and especially in flats that look dark and unoccupied. So next time you go on holiday or have a long day at work, come up with a way to fake your presence. By setting timers to turn on a TV, radio, and lights, you can fool burglars into thinking your home is occupied when it’s really not.
6. Befriend your neighbors
There is strength in the community. Making friends with your neighbors is probably the most traditional way to counteract theft. Even regular removal of advertising leaflets from your mailbox and turning on the lights in your flat from time to time will create doubt in burglars on whether the apartment was left unattended.
7. Hide valuables in a safe
Don’t be flashy with your expensive items. Don’t leave electronics, jewelry, cash, or important personal documents out in plain sight. Rather, keep them in a household safe, or even better, in a bank safe. If putting your valuables out of your home is not an option, then consider home content insurance in Hong Kong for a maximum level of protection against potential loss.
8. Invest in anti-burglary equipment
From reinforcing your doors and buying smart locks or anti-burglar blinds to installing an anti-burglary security system, you have multiple options when it comes to transforming your home into a fortress.
Small anti-theft alarms are one such option. Classified into passive infrared, magnetic, and vibration detection methods, they are small, battery-powered, and can be easily hidden. With that said, these can also be easily removed. The smart alarm system is especially suitable for individual houses, village houses, or larger residences. It has closed-circuit television and dynamic detection functions. If a thief enters, the system will automatically send out an alarm and send a video to the residents of the house. You can also install lighting systems, fences, etc., right outside village houses or ground-level shops. Last but not least, anti-theft alarms can be installed on doors and windows as well.
Get protected with home insurance
Even the best security measures don't give 100% certainty that nothing from the house will disappear in the absence of the household members. When this happens, owners can receive compensation from the insurance company. Home insurance is another component that can safeguard your finances in case a robbery happens, as it covers the household from multiple mishaps besides burglary.
How much does home insurance against burglary cost?
One risk factor in your insurance policy may be burglary or robbery. If you decide to buy home insurance, make sure it covers this type of damage. Usually, the protection covers specific items that can be looted by a thief, e.g. valuable jewelry, works of art, electronic equipment, collectors' items, and household appliances. The home insurance plan may also apply to windows and doors that will be damaged as a result of a burglary.
The premiums you have to pay will depend on what is covered in your policy and are also influenced by the value and size of the flat and the sum insured. It is worth knowing that the fees may be reduced by the insurer
if you have used anti-theft protection in your apartment, such as in the form of special windows or doors and an alarm.
Kwiksure has over 20 years of experience in the car insurance industry. Besides car insurance (third party and comprehensive), we also offer home insurance, motorcycle insurance, Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS), Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) insurance, and more. Get a free quote now with our online quotation tool! For personalized advice, contact our team of insurance experts today!