Ensure Your Property is Secure
Have you looked at your property with security in mind? Are there ways to help prevent burglary in your home? This section contains information about securing doors and windows.
Most burglaries are committed by opportunist thieves. In one quarter of all burglaries committed they don’t even have to use force – they get in through an open door or window.
Take simple precautions such as locking windows and doors when you go out even if just stepping next door or out in the garden. Also use a light timer and do not leave your keys lying around.
Look at your property through a burglar’s eyes to identify places where you can add deterrents and improve security.
Doors and windows
Secure all doors and windows – if they are not secure, neither is your property.
- Make sure the doors and frames are strong and are in good condition.
- Fit back and front doors with a five-lever mortice deadlock – and use it.
- Glass panels on or around the door are especially vulnerable, so replace them with laminated glass.
- Fit a letterbox cage to stop someone reaching inside to open your night latch lock.
- Check that the door hinges are sturdy and secured with strong long screws. Consider using inexpensive hinge bolts which help to reinforce the hinge side of a door against the use of force.
Patio doors and windows are often targeted by thieves, because in the past they have been easy to open.
It can be useful to get specialist advice when fitting a patio door, with security in mind.
- Patio doors should have special locks fitted top and bottom unless they already have a multi-locking system.
- Patio windows which are made of aluminium are often the weakest type. Modern UPVC should come with multi-point locking systems as standard.
- Fit key-operated window locks to all downstairs windows and easily accessible upstairs windows. For example those above a flat roof or by a drainpipe.
- Even small windows such as skylights or bathroom fanlights need locks – a thief can get through any gap larger than the human head.
- Remember to remove keys from locked windows and to keep them out of sight in a safe place.
- If you are replacing windows – consider laminated glass. This glass has a layer of vinyl between two sheets of glass making it difficult to break.
- As a last resort, consider fitting security grilles to vulnerable windows – many DIY shops now sell decorative wrought iron grilles.
Intruder alarms are an effective deterrent against burglars. They provide a useful warning and limit the risk of theft and damage to your property. Surveys have consistently shown that properties are less likely to be burgled if an alarm is fitted.
Don’t worry too much about the effect it may have on neighbours or passers-by – it’s the way it affects the criminal that matters. Criminals do not like attracting attention to themselves.
For a small charge you can have your home alarm monitored over a phone line by a central monitoring station. When your alarm is triggered it can autodial the monitoring station who will ring you, or your key holders to notify you of the alarm.
It’s important to lock up and set the alarm at night as well as when you go out. It is also recommended to hide your keys and handbag or wallet safely out of sight, and never leaving your keys in the back of the door.
You should fit a security bulk-head light to the outside of your property at the front and back. These lights should also use low-energy light bulbs and have dusk-to-dawn sensors so that they are on during the hours of darkness.
Floodlights fitted with infra-red movement sensors can also be used as ‘courtesy lights’ for genuine visitors to your property.
Use time switches to turn on lights, radios and other appliances when you’re out. This will help to give the impression that the property is occupied when there is no one around.
Remember to keep vehicle and house keys out of view in your property. A significant amount of vehicle crime is committed when car keys are stolen during burglaries.
- Keep keys in a locked cupboard or cabinet or, at night, take them to bed with you! Making keys safe stops an opportunist burglar having instant access to a car during a break-in.
- Never leave a spare key in a convenient hiding place such as under a door mat or in a flower pot – a thief will look there first.
- Ask a friend or trusted neighbour to hold keys for you instead. They may also be prepared to look after your home while you are away on holiday, Offer to do the same for them. This also helps you to get to know your neighbours, improving your security.
- If you’ve moved into a new house, consider changing the back and front door locks – other people may have keys that fi
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- Keeping photographs and a description of precious items
- Hiding portable valuables like mobile phones, wallets, handbags and keys out of sight
- Marking property with your postcode and registering it at www.immobolise.com
- Using a traceable asset marking liquid on items like jewellery or antiques
- Joining Neighbourhood Watch
- If you’re not sure who is at your door, don’t open it or let anyone into your home.
- Always put the chain on before you open the door. However, only put on your door chain as you answer the door – don’t keep it on all the time as this could delay your exit in the case of fire.
- Check the identity of the caller by calling the company they claim to be from. Use the numbers listed in the phone book or on a bill. Don’t use any phone numbers provided by the caller – they may be bogus.
- Genuine callers won’t mind making an appointment for a date when you can have someone with you. This gives you time to check their identity too. Remember, if the caller refuses to give details or does not show what you believe is a genuine ID card, do not let them in and call the police straight away on 999.
- Call a neighbour or friend nearby to come along and check out the visitor.
- Many service providers provide password schemes and it can be helpful to sign up to these. When unannounced callers knock at your door they should know the password if they’re genuine.
- Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times.
- If somebody asks for your help, needs to make phone call, claims to have lost a ball in your garden, needs a drink or pen and paper, don’t invite them into your house. If you really want to offer help, make them wait outside and while you’re away from your door, close and lock it.
- Remember: it’s your doorstep, your decision.
The Police are asking householders to be alert and report suspicious behaviour. Anyone with any information which could help the Police with their investigations is asked to get in touch through their online form, or by calling 101
Alternatively ring the independent charity Crimestoppers. They never ask your name or trace your call.
If you hear a suspicious noise in the night please do check your property and call the Police straight away if you find any damage or see someone running away.
Remember to call 999 if a crime’s underway or there’s a suspect in the area.