• Over 6,000 home burglaries are happening in the UK every year where a key is used to enter the property
  • Nearly 30% of Brits still regularly leave a key hidden outside their home, under door mats, plant pots and even gnomes
  • Brits have shared nearly 20 million 'spare' keys…and then lost track of them!

Sometimes we make life far too easy for would-be home burglars, particularly when house keys are left in easy access for the opportunistic thieves. Official Police data found through a Freedom of Information requested by the LV= home insurance team has shown that over 6,000 burglaries in 2014 involved entry to the home by keys, rather than by breaking and entering. In these cases, the keys were found hidden outside the property or had been previously stolen.

While the positive news is that figures show a general decline in burglaries in 2014, the number of burglaries involving keys is on the rise. Unfortunately, leaving keys under a door mat or plant pot is bad habit that some homeowners have slipped into, harking back to days when it was considered 'safe' to leave keys in such obvious places.

Some worrying figures include:

  • Nearly one in three (29%) Brits admitted to leaving a 'spare' key around their property hidden. Popular locations to
  • 19% of people hide keys were under a plant pot
  • 13% leave keys under their bin, a rock or a stone
  • The doormat is the hiding place for 10% of us
  • And 8% leave them under a gnome or garden ornament

But why?

The most popular reason cited for leaving a spare key out is so that trusted friends and family could enter the house while the occupants were away. A quarter of people leave one hidden in case of emergency and 23% hide the key in case they lose/forget theirs.

While leaving keys in such obvious places might seem reckless, those doing so argue that they only leave it unattended for short periods of time or that they believe they have come up with a clever hiding place. Others optimistically believe it's safe to do so because they live in a 'safe' neighbourhood.

It's not just the keys outside the house that are risk – thieves are getting cleverer at grabbing keys on the other side of a locked door! While keys inside the home makes them harder to reach, many homeowners are still leaving keys where a thief could easily access them through the letterbox or an open window.

Nearly 20% of Brits leave their keys close to the front door in plain view in a bowl, on a hook or on a table, where thieves can easily hook them out and access the house without breaking in. Fishing rods have even been used through the letterbox to provide that extra reach!

Whether or not the keys can found is immaterial if the doors themselves are unlocked, and 20% of Brits admitted to leaving their front or back door unlocked when they're out. Furthermore, on average, each household has lost at least two keys that were cut for friends, family or workmen – that's nearly 20 million spare keys in circulation that are unaccounted for.

With these statistics in mind, take the time to reconsider your home security by keeping their doors locked when you're out. Don't make life easier for by leaving keys where they can easily be accessed; if you must leave a key outside, use a Police approved key safe and only share the code with people you trust.

For further details go to the press pages on LV.com.