Helpful tips on home security

Home security

Home security - Credit: Archant

Security-consciousness in the home not only protects our possessions, it safeguards us personally and impacts positively on our sense of well-being.

Of all burglaries, 70 per cent involve forced entry through insecure doors and windows. A sturdy door (minimum 44mm thick) is less easily kicked in, especially if the door frame is securely fixed to the wall. Add a good quality five-lever mortice deadlock and bolts top and bottom, a spyhole, chain and a letterbox at least 400mm away from door locks and you are already making things more difficult for a thief.

Large expanses of door glazing can be replaced with laminated glass, which is more resistant than toughened glass.

If you have moved house recently, consider changing door locks as you never know who might have the keys to your new home.

Well over half of all burglaries involve entry via a window, so key-operated window locks are essential. Leaded windows are particularly vulnerable but secondary glazing, using laminated glass, can improve protection.

Sliding patio doors are often equipped with poor locking systems. Investigate additional security measures appropriate to your type of door.

You can deter crime substantially with cheap-to-run LED external security lighting. You can choose from time switches, photo-electric cells, or passive infra-red detectors.

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Domestic burglar alarms are gaining in popularity. Professional fitters should be NSI or SSAIB approved to carry out the work. A visible alarm is a deterrent in itself.

Remember that ladders and garden tools make good housebreaking equipment. Always lock them away when not in use. Inspect fences for weak spots and restrict access to the rear of your home. Sixty-four per cent of burglaries are via the back of the house.

Usually it is empty houses which are burgled. If you are away, cancel the papers and ask a neighbour to collect the post. Time switches can turn lights and radios on and even draw the curtains while you are out. Never leave spare keys under doormats or flowerpots.

In only nine per cent of cases is stolen property returned, so mark your prized possessions indelibly with your postcode. And always keep valuables out of sight or invest in a safe.

And if that all seems like quite a large investment, it might be worthwhile checking with your insurance company to see if they offer reduced rates for households in Neighbourhood Watch areas. If you are not in one yet, it’s easy to start one.