According to Police UK ‘homes with no security measures in place are five times more likely to be burgled than those with simple security measures’ therefore it’s vital that we protect our loved ones and belongings as best we can.
In this blog, we’ve covered a range of tips and tricks that can help deter criminals as well as the security systems you can put in place to prevent them.
Ensure that there’s no easy way in
It’s all too easy to become accustomed to the idea that ‘these things don’t happen to me’ but the truth is no-one expects it to happen to them and without paying close attention to your home security you could make it a target for thieves.
Don’t leave your door unlocked
A lot of criminals are opportunists and many have been known to try door handles, hoping for an easy target. Although it may seem like it’s perfectly fine to leave the door unlocked for a friend or family member that you’re expecting, this is never a good idea. Many criminals are repeat offenders that may be wanted or on release and the last thing they want is to get caught therefore you are not only putting your belongings at risk but yourself too. Instead, we suggest that you lock your doors and windows whenever you leave the house, even when you’re just out in the garden. You should also remember to double-lock UPVC doors (lift handle and turn key)
Forget about hiding a set of keys
One way that many people avoid the above situation is by hiding a spare key somewhere secure. The issue with this method is that in order for it to work the key must be easily accessible, which means it’s probably not as secure as you might think. Experienced burglars are aware of the common hiding places and know to look under the mat and behind the bin. If you want to give access without making multiple keys then you should opt for a smart door lock. These doors can be unlocked by a key or unique user code. You can then share this code with friends and family, allowing them access to your home without having to risk a spare key being found by a burglar.
Make sure doors and windows are secure
According to Police UK, most burglaries occur by criminals breaking into the house or flat through the door, either by forcing the lock or kicking it in. This is why it is vital that your doors are strong and secure. It may also be worthwhile having a security bar installed for additional strength, particularly in elderly homes. If you’re unsure which bar to buy or how to install a security bar then it is best to ask your local locksmith for advice.
When choosing a new door for security purposes you should avoid the ones with glass panels. Although they look fabulous they can be extremely vulnerable, particularly when the glass panel is so close to the door handle. If you’re adamant on having a glass panel then you should choose one made from laminated glass which is much tougher than standard glass. A cheaper alternative to overcome this issue is to add some film. You can usually find security film in your local DIY store and this can be stuck to the glass making it harder to break.
As for your windows, you can usually find key-operated locks for a decent price and should fit most kinds of windows. Don’t forget to consider your upstairs windows as well as the ground floor; particularly if you have any high fences or hedges nearby.
Keep valuables out of sight
For many homes across the UK, it seems perfectly acceptable to leave house keys and car keys near the door so they don’t get lost. However, you must ensure that your house keys and car keys are far out of sight and away from your doors and letterbox at all costs. As mentioned before, a lot of criminals are opportunists. This is why many thieves will try to ‘fish’ for your keys. ‘Fishing’ refers to the action of putting a rod and hook and sticking it through the letterbox in order to steal something in reach, such as keys, meaning they won’t even need to attempt a break-in. It just goes to show that even though you might think they’re safe because they’re in your house there are still security measures you should have in place.
You should also ensure that any other valuables such as technology and jewellery are kept out of view of the ground floor windows and try to avoid keeping jewellery boxes or other expensive items on 2nd-floor window sills. Any high-value items such as passports, wedding rings or money should be stored securely in a safe or bank vault.
Stop criminals from entering your property
Keeping doors and windows secure is a good start but deterring criminals from getting to the door at all is definitely a bonus. Ensuring that all garden fences are in good condition and that any side gates are locked is a great place to start.
You can also mark your property and house number so that police can register your property and belongings. This will help police enquiries and simplify insurance claims in a worst-case scenario. You can do this for free on Immobilise.
Never leave anything in the garden
When we think about home security, we always consider keeping intruders out of our home but we can often forget about keeping all of our valuables inside. Any bicycles should be kept locked to an immovable object or in a secure shed or garage.
It’s vital that any ladders or tools are not left in the garden because although they may seem cheap to replace they can often be used to help criminals break into your home.
Don’t fall for scammers
Not all criminals are violent. Some will try to trick their way into your home by pretending to be someone official. They may even try to convince you that they need to check something in the house for your own safety. Sadly, this can often trick the elderly more than anyone else. The best way to avoid this is by ignoring the door to anyone who you do not know or expect to be arriving. If they claim to be a member of the police or claim to work for a gas, electricity or water company then ask for a full name and call the company to check. Do not use any number given by the visitor, instead use the telephone numbers listed in the directory or that have been given to you directly from the service provider. It’s also handy to know that the term ‘waterboard’ no longer exists, the phrase is obsolete and therefore anyone who claims to be from the waterboard is most certainly a bogus caller who should not be trusted.
Increase your home security
Believe it or not, installing decent lighting outside your home can be a great deterrent. Motion sensor lights can often intimidate criminals who do not want to risk getting caught.
The best way to protect your home is by installing security cameras. A decent CCTV system is vital in deterring criminals and in bringing them to justice. It’s proven that just the sight of a camera surveillance system can help minimise crime and deter thieves. What’s more, most modern CCTV systems can be accessed remotely via smartphone or tablet, meaning you can keep an eye on your home 24/7. Once installed, a CCTV system requires very little maintenance, making them the perfect ‘fit and forget’ security system. If you want to know more about the camera systems available, or would like to receive a quote then please contact us. Our professional team of installers can offer a multitude of camera options, including single and multi-camera recording systems, tailored to suit your needs.
A visual burglar alarm can also help alongside other security measures but is often unsuccessful in preventing entry to your home without other measures in place and in a worst-case scenario it will not help retrieve your belongings, or bring the culprit to justice.
How to protect your home when you go on holiday
Most criminals will opt for a property where no-one is home. By following these 3 simple steps below, you can dramatically reduce the chances of this happening to you.
Don’t shout about it on social media
Resist the urge to boast about booking your holiday abroad. Posting about when you go away is a huge risk to your property and belongings, especially if you post the exact dates that you plan to go away. This information can be used to the criminals’ advantage and the last thing you want to come home to after a lovely holiday is damaged or stolen property. Another rookie mistake we see a lot of is people posting their holiday photos whilst at their resort. This is a clear sign that you are not at home, especially when posted with the location. Instead, wait until you are home to post the photos.
Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property
Having a trusted neighbour that can keep an eye on your property can be a huge help. Any post or mail that has been left can make your property a prime target for thieves as it makes it clear that no-one is in and therefore having someone that can take any post for you can help protect your home. If possible, you should also ask them to park their car on your drive while you are away.
Make it seem like you are home
If you don’t have anyone you can rely on to take care of your home, then there are some really smart ways to make it seem like you’re still there. Usual signs that someone is in include the lights being on late at night or sounds such as the TV or radio. Chances are you won’t want to have these on for the duration of your holiday as the bills could rise quite dramatically. However, using a timer switch you can ensure that certain electronics turn on between certain hours every day. For this to be effective you should check what time it starts to get dark a couple of days prior to leaving. Then you can set the timers to start just beforehand and leave your home happy knowing that the chances of someone entering your home are very slim.