Most crimes are against property rather than people, we will outline a few tips on how you can make your home and valuables more secure. Many of the suggestions listed are common sense and if fully implemented will go a long way towards making your home and property more secure and potentially saving you the distress and expense of being the victim of a burglary.
The majority of crimes are opportunistic, spur of the moment events and can be the result of leaving a door or window open or having valuables left on view.
Firstly, let’s start to make life awkward for the burglar by taking these simple and cost effective precautions.
Many burglars are opportunistic and they often don’t even have to resort to using force, they simply let themselves in through an open window or door.
- Take a look at your property from a burglars perspective.
- Are there any unsecured windows or doors?
- Are your window and door locks strong and secure enough?
- Are there any places hidden from view where someone could attempt to break in?
- Would they have to make a lot of noise to break in by attacking doors or breaking glass?
One in three burglars gain entry through a rear window. Window locks are an effective deterrent because they force the thief to break the glass and therefore risk drawing attention to himself.
If the window lock is visible, this will also further deter a criminal. There are many types of window locks available with keys for all kinds of windows and frames from your local locksmith. A qualified locksmith is best suited to advise you on the best lock to suit your requirements.
Fit window locks with keys to all vulnerable windows, in particular all ground floor and basement windows, all upstairs windows that are not visible from the street, all windows that can by accessed via drainpipes and gutters or via flat roofs. You should even consider small windows and skylights - bear in mind that a burglar can squeeze through any opening that is larger than a human head.
For UPVC windows, make sure you check with your window fitter before fitting locks as this may affect your warranty.
Remember not to leave your keys in locked windows and store them in a safe place. Consider getting a small key cabinet, these can be inexpensive and will have other benefits which we will touch on later in this series.
Louvre windows can be particularly vulnerable as burglars can remove window slats with ease. Glue the slats into the end plates and if you can find something suitable for Louvre windows, fit a locking device. Here again your local locksmith might be best placed to advise. Also, if you can - consider replacing louvre windows with fixed glass.
When replacing windows, consider using laminated glass as this is harder for burglars to penetrate. Also, think about fitting security grilles to openings that might be vulnerable to attack, such as basement windows that cannot be viewed from the road.
- Make sure all your doors, front and back are secure.
- Doors should be strong and in good condition and at least 44mm thick (2 inches).
- Any glass panels located on or around doors can pose a risk to security and you should consider replacing them with laminated glass if necessary.
- Make sure all doors are fitted with five lever mortise deadlocks and that you use them. They should be fitted about a third of the way up the door.
- Insurance companies normally ask for locks to have a kite mark to British Standard BS3621.
The benefit of a deadlock is that it can only be opened with a key. So even if a burglar smashed a nearby glass panel to reach inside, he still wouldn’t be able to open the door. Also, if a thief gets in through a window, they won’t be able to carry your possessions out via your deadlocked door.
Letterboxes - do not leave spare keys hanging inside your letterbox as this is an obvious place that a burglar will explore. Thieves are very adept at fishing for keys through letterboxes using poles and magnets, so never leave keys visible anywhere near your front door. That includes your vehicle keys; locking security on modern cars is so strong now that it is virtually impossible to steal a vehicle without having the keys. Hence, would be car thieves have to resort to breaking into homes or fishing for keys through letterboxes. Here again, consider getting a small key cabinet to store your keys. Consider fitting a letterbox cage, this will prevent burglars from getting their hands or special tools inside in order to try the latches.
Exterior doors - Fit solid good quality bolts with strong screws to the top and bottom of exterior doors. For French doors, fit a mortise lock in conjunction with bolts top and bottom of the door.
For UPVC doors check with your installer to ensure that you are not invalidating your warranty before fitting locks and bolts. It is also worthwhile getting some expert advice from your local locksmith.
When buying UPVC or metal framed doors or windows, make sure they come pre-fitted with built-in locks.
Garages and Sheds
Garages and sheds should be kept locked and secure as they are often full of expensive tools and things such as ladders that the burglar could use to break into your home. If the garage has a door connecting it to the house, the burglar can easily try and gain entry via the inner door unobserved.
Make sure your shed has a good sturdy door with strong hinges and that it has a good quality hasp and staple fitted with a security padlock.
If possible make sure ladders are locked away in a garage or shed. If left outside, ladders should be chained up to a strong bracket and in a horizontal position. Check to see that there are no other objects outside that can be used as climbing tools to gain access to first floor windows.