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Improve your home security

Many burglaries are committed by opportunist thieves who simply enter homes through open windows or unlocked doors. Improving your home security is the best way of reducing the chance of being burgled and, for a relatively low cost, you can protect your property and make it difficult for a burglar. Look at your home through a burglar’s eyes, and see where opportunities exist for your home to become a target.

Doors

  • Keeping your doors locked, even when you are at home, is vital for good home security. Keep keys out of sight, and reach, from cat flaps, letterboxes, and downstairs doors and windows
  • Don’t be tempted to keep a spare key hidden outside; this is an open invitation to thieves
  • Make sure doors and door frames are in a good condition. Wooden doors should be solid and at least 44mm thick
  • Wooden front doors should be fitted with a 5-lever mortice deadlock, and an automatic deadlocking rim latch (both to BS3621). Wooden back doors should be fitted with a 5-lever mortice lock (BS3621), and key operated mortice bolts top and bottom (BS3621)
  • When replacing doors invest in door-sets, which are certified to British Standard PAS24-1: 1999

Windows

  • An open window may let in more than a cool breeze. If you open a window for an air, make sure you close it when you go out. To limit the windows opening, consider fitting restrictors to downstairs windows
  • Ensure all ground floor windows, and any that are easily accessible from a flat roof, are fitted with window locks
  • When replacing windows invest in ones that are certified to British Standard BS7950

Lighting

  • The right lighting, correctly positioned can be a real deterrent to a burglar. Lighting allows a property to look occupied, and removes the offender’s cover of darkness. Be wary not to light an offender’s path, only illuminate areas which are overlooked, and where an offender is likely to be seen
  • A constant level of lighting provided by a dusk-to-dawn sensor light is ideal at the front of the house.
  • Lighting your front doorway removes the cover of darkness, and allows callers to be identified at night
  • At the rear or to the side of your property, passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor light will draw your or your neighbours’ attention to any activity
  • Homes that do not look occupied after dark are a target for burglars, especially in the winter months. Use energy saving lights with timers to make your home look occupied

Alarms

It is nationally recognised that burglar alarm systems are an effective burglary deterrent, and alarm systems are highly recommended to prevent crime. Offenders avoid anything that may draw attention to them as they strive to work anonymously.

If you already have an alarm system, take advantage of it and ensure that it is set when you leave the property and when you go to bed.

If you are considering investing in an alarm system, we recommend obtaining three quotes from at least three security companies who are subject to independent inspection by a recognised body, either the National Security Inspectorate (www.nsi.org.uk/) or Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (https://ssaib.org/).

An alarm system is not a replacement for the usual security measures and is not an alternative to good doors, windows and locks. Alarm systems form part of a security package to help make your property less inviting to a thief, complementing the other security features.

Find out more about burglar alarms in our users’ guide here or in the leaflet below.

Your valuables

Essentially it is the items inside your home that you are trying to protect from theft.

  • Avoid advertising your valuables to thieves. Items that are attractive to thieves such as televisions, laptops, computer consoles, should be positioned so they are not visible from the outside
  • Mark your property. There are several ways of property marking. Forensic marking is a liquid based solution that has a unique chemical ‘code’. Forensic marking providers SelectaDNA, Smartwater and Red Web are all police approved and accredited by Secured by Design
  • Ultra-violet marking using a UV permanent pen can be effective. Mark property with your house number followed by your postcode. It is likely this type of marking will fade after 12-18months, when faded re-mark the property in the same manner
  • Register your property for free at www.immobilise.com

Useful Contacts

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