Updated 31st July 2017
It’s everyone’s worst nightmare – an opportunistic thief gaining entry into your home, rifling through your personal possessions and helping themselves to whatever is likely to make them a quick bit of cash. Aside from the loss of the items themselves, the feeling that your privacy and sanctuary has been invaded can be devastating, and can take quite a while to recover from. It may not be possible to completely remove the risk of burglary, but there is plenty you can do to reduce the likelihood of your home becoming the next target. How? By making it obvious that the thieves will need to work hard to gain entry.
Improving home security to deter thieves
Lock your doors and windows – It may seem obvious, but the most important thing you can do when securing your home is to make sure your doors and windows are lockable (and locked, when appropriate).
Check for any signs of damage or rotting door and window frames regularly, and have affected units repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
Have doors fitted with deadbolts – preferably a 5-lever mortise deadlock complying with BS3621 – and don’t forget to actually use it. Normal bolts can also act as a reliable deterrent, simply through not allowing would-be thieves to easily push their way through a door.
Windows should also be fitted with three-point locks and, again, locked with a key whenever closed. However, as not all windows are permitted to have keys due to fire regulations, it is recommended that stays be fitted that have a release catch to ease exit in the event of a fire. We would also recommend that you inform your home insurer if you have windows that do not lock.
If you’re planning on installing new doors and windows, ensure that they comply with British Standard 7950 or PAS24.
It’s another point that seems like simple common sense, but never leave keys under plant pots, doormats or anywhere else in the immediate vicinity of your home. What could be more inviting than an empty house with a key sitting right there?
Install an alarm – As the presence of a burglar alarm can easily be spotted from the street, just installing a system goes a long way towards putting off criminals who may be sizing up homes in your area as their next target. Of course, you should also ensure that the alarm is set at night and whenever your home is empty.
Don’t underestimate the power of the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing that alarm box on your house is going some way towards protecting you from a break-in.
Pay attention to the little details – Even if you’re absolutely scrupulous about setting your alarm and locking the complex systems protecting your doors and windows, the smaller details may still compromise your home security. Many of us are guilty of at least some of the following, and all of us should pledge to stop doing them all right now.
How many of these helping hands are you providing to burglars?
- Keeping a key under a doormat, plant pot or other accessible point outside your home. Aside from making it all too easy for thieves to get in, your insurance may not pay out if entry was gained using a key.
- Leaving curtains open to reveal an empty house at night
- Leaving computers, tablets and other valuables in clear view from the street
- Storing ladders in the garden
- Placing wheelie bins under windows
- Leaving windows (particularly downstairs ones) open when you go out
- Not closing curtains when lights are on – putting your home, and its contents, on display to anyone passing by
- Not using a padlock on side gates, sheds and outbuildings
- Allowing shrubbery and trees to become overgrown, providing cover for potential burglars who wish to investigate a bit closer and find out just how easy it would be to gain access to your home
- Becoming over-confident that a pet dog will stop thieves from either gaining access or taking your belongings