Homes with no security measures in place are five times more likely to be burgled than those with simple security measures. Good window locks strong deadlocks and high security cylinder locks can make a big difference.
Many burglaries are committed by opportunist thieves, the most recent burglary I attended was possible because although the window was closed the handle had not been pulled down and the keys for the house and car were in reach of the insecure window.
An open window or unlocked door is the only invitation a thief needs and in a couple of minutes they can be walking off with your valuable possessions, even the keys to your car. Burglars will always pick the easiest target with the best chance of getting away undetected. There is however simple measures you can take to greatly reduce being the next victim of crime.
One thing that I always tell my customers is that a lock is only as good as the door it is fitted to. External wooden doors should be at least 1 inch thick and solid, try to avoid having a panelled door or one with single glazed glass. Soft and rotten door frames need to be replaced and all locking devices should be attached with screws of a suitable length. Also ensure that locks are to British Standard and Secured by Design, 5 lever mortise on wooden doors and anti-snap 3 star cylinders on uPVC doors, this will ensure that your locks are able to withstand common attack methods and not be compromised by the elements, this is also a requirement of insurance companies.
One of the most vulnerable points of access is patio doors as they can easily be removed from their tracks. Additional security bolts can be fitted at minimal cost. An even more cost effective security measure is to place something like a cut down broom handle on the sliding tracks, reaching from the edge of the frame to the back end of the door, this will prevent the door from been forced open from the outside.
Apart from having adequate locking points careful consideration should be given to the outside of your property. Avoid having over grown hedges or other plants around windows and doors as these provide perfect hiding places for thieves. Also ensure that sheds and other out buildings are locked and any tools and ladders aren’t on show. Security lighting also proves an excellent deterrent.
Taking just a few steps can make a big difference in keeping your home safe from burglary.
Here are a few tips:
- Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you’re just out in the garden, remembering to double-lock UPVC doors (lift handle and turn key)
- Hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight and away from the letterbox (remember a device could be used to hook keys through the letterbox)
- Install a visual burglar alarm (as part of a suite of prevention measures – a burglar alarm on its own will not prevent entry to your home)
- Install good outside lighting
- Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property
- Leave radios or lights in your house on a timer to make the property appear occupied
- Make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition
- Secure bikes at home by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage
- Keep ladders and tools stored away; don’t leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home
- Ensure side gates are locked to prevent access to the rear of the property
- Ensure rear fencing is in good repair
Improve natural surveillance at the front of your property i.e. trim high hedges
- Mark your property with postcode and house number and register your property for free with Immobilise (opens in a new window)
- Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
- Remove valuables from view of ground floor windows