|Improving Home Security|
Many burglaries are opportunist crimes. A burglar only needs to spot an open window, unlocked door or gate to make their move. Look at your home through the burglar's eyes. If you think your security looks poor, chances are so will a thief.
It doesn't take much to improve security and put off thieves. Money spent on realistic security is a good investment; it will last a long time, can add value to your property, it can benefit your insurance cover and most of all give peace of mind that being a crime victim is not inevitable. Our Home Security section has an extensive list of products to enhance all areas of Burglary prevention.
There are a wide range of products available to prevent break ins and theft from property. Good prevention denies the use of normally available tools, increases the risk for the thief (CCTV Cameras) perhaps by increasing the noise (Home Alarms), effort and time to steal (Window and Door Locks), or reduces the value to the thief (Security Marking Property).
If your front and back doors are not secure, neither is your home. Two thirds of burglars gain entry through a door. Remember, quality locks and bolts are only as strong as the door and the frame to which they are fitted. Wooden doors should be solid and at least 44mm (1 ¾") thick.
Check that the frame is well fixed, and if weak or rotten replace it. Glass panels on or around doors are especially vulnerable, so it's worth replacing them with laminated glass. If you replace a door it is better to buy a new "door set" certified to British Standard PAS 24-1 'Doors of Enhanced Security'. Bought as a complete kit, this shows that the door, frame, locks and fittings have been attack tested.
- Remember to fit all security devices with strong screws or bolts.
- If fitting locks to a standard door fit a 5-lever mortice lock tested to BS: 3621 plus a BS: 3621 night latch.
- Before fitting locks to PVC-U or metal doors, check with the installer to make sure that this will not affect your warranty.
Patio doors are especially vulnerable to break-in by levering off the tracks. When buying ask for the sliding section to be on the inside and for anti-lift blocks. Multi-locking systems are recommended or have mortice security bolts with removable keys at the top and bottom of both doors. Existing patio doors can be fitted with additional patio door locks or security bolts to stop lifting or forced entry. See our Security Hardware section.
If you don't have a window in the door or some other way of checking who is calling, fit a door viewer. Look through this to identify callers before you open the door. See our Security Hardware section.
These allow the door to be opened a short distance to allow checking of identification. They can stop callers pushing their way in, but must be securely fixed to avoid screws being pulled out. They do not contribute to security of a locked door against burglary.
Check that the door hinges are sturdy and secured with strong, long screws. For added security, fit hinge bolts or security hinges. These are inexpensive, help to reinforce the hinge side of a door against force and protect the hinge if your door opens outwards.
Never hang a spare key inside the letterbox. This is an obvious place that a thief will check. Letterboxes should be at least 400mm (16 inches) from any locks.
Windows are a popular point of entry for burglars through breaking glass or
just being left open. If you are replacing windows, take the opportunity to install windows certified to British Standard BS7950 'Windows of Enhanced Security' and consider using laminated glass in ground-floor and accessible windows such as those above a flat roof.
Ground floor opening windows and easy to reach windows such as above a flat roof or near a drainpipe should have locks unless used as a fire escape in which case laminated glass still provides security.
Even small windows such as skylights or bathroom fanlights need locks. If a thief can get their head through, with a bit of effort the body can follow.
We supply a large selection of window locks in our security hardware section.
Also think about fitting Window Contact Alarms or Glass Break/Vibration Alarms to Windows as a further deterrent to burglars.
Give the impression you are in, even when you are out
The majority of burglaries happen when a house or flat is empty.
They are more likely to happen during the evening or at night.
Don't leave curtains closed during the daytime.
Use a 24 hour timer device to turn on lights, radios and other appliances
when you're out. Alternatively one of our Simulated TV units mimics the
effects of a television being on and gives the impression of an occupied property. Always
keep all valuable items out of sight. Make sure you security mark your property.
Going on Holiday or away for a long period
If you do leave your property empty because of holidays or for any other reason, try to observe the following steps
- cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries
- cut the lawn before you go
- Do not put your home address on luggage labels when travelling to
- Try and get a friend or neighbour to look after your home
while you're away. Ask them to collect your post, shut your
curtains at night and open them in the mornings, and generally
make the place look occupied.
- Small safes like our Safe Cans are ideal for spare
Jewellery, small keepsakes and other valuables.
Some burglars try to trick their way in. They may say they are
from the water, gas or electric company or the local council. Or,
they may ask for a glass of water, or to wash their hands or
claim to have lost a pet.
In fact, they'll use any story they can to get in.
They can be young (even children) or old, male or female,
and might work alone or in teams. They often target the elderly.
- Lock - keep your doors and windows locked, even when
you're at home.
- Stop - are you expecting anyone, do they have an
appointment? Make sure the back door is locked - some
thieves work in pairs with the other one sneaking in the
back while you're at the front door.
- Chain - put the door bar or chain on before you open
- Check - check their identity carefully. Ask for an ID card.
Close the door and check using a phone number from the
phone book or a relevant bill, not the one on the card.
If in doubt, keep them out, particularly if you're on your own.
Ask them to make an appointment or come back later when
someone else is around. Genuine callers won't mind. If you are
suspicious, report the incident to the police. You may help
prevent them from burgling someone else.