A burglary happens in the UK every 10 seconds – that’s 3.7 million burglaries every year and most take place surprisingly, during the day between 10.00 – 3.00 p.m. and 28% of burglaries take place when there is someone in the house!
Have these statistics surprised you? Burglars know when to strike – when occupants are at work or on holiday – and this is made easier by holiday snaps appearing on social media. Sadly, very few home owners give any real thought to home security. It is an interesting fact that most burglaries that take place are opportunist because your home has been easy to enter.
The opening statement on the Police.UK website reads;
Homes with no security measures in place are five times more likely to be burgled than those with simple security measures. Good window locks and strong deadlocks can make a big difference.
Securing Your Property
Modern burglars are looking for expensive items that can be sold on quickly for cash, but just as importantly, they are looking for identity documents such as passports and driving licences, credit cards and car keys. Do yourself a favour and review these ten aspects of home security today.
If you do buy any new security items, look out for the ‘Secured by Design‘ logo, this shows that the product has been approved by the police and has been made to a very high standard.
How Secure Are Your Doors?
An amazing 34% of burglars access a property through a door! Check that your door frames are strong and in good shape. Is the door itself in a robust condition or is the wood old? If the door has a glass pane, this makes it more vulnerable so it is well worth getting a laminated pane fitted or fitting some security film on both sides of the glass. This film can be bought in DIY shops, is easy to fit and certainly makes it harder to break the glass. Is it possible for someone to slide a long hook through your letter box to reach either the door knob or your keys?
Check your front door locks too. In reality, how secure are they or could they be easily picked? Is it worth fitting a deadlock? What about spare keys? Who has them? Will a burglar find a spare key under the stone or flower tub next to the front door? Have a good think about how many spare keys you have and who has them as it is not wise to have too many in use. A smart lock is indeed a smart way to do away with the need for spare keys but still allows family members in – a model that has received a great deal of positive press is the Everest Smart Lock from Yale which is an excellent keyless locking system.
Have you considered fitting a video doorbell so that you can see who is ringing your front doorbell wherever you are using your smartphone? The bonus with these very effective gadgets is that you can be alerted to a parcel delivery or to parcel thieves. All of this advice applies if you are living in a flat as your front door will be the most likely point of access for a burglar – unless you live on the ground floor.
Are Your Windows Burglar Proof?
Another easy point of entry for many burglars is through the window and what is surprising is that they usually gain access without using any tools! Check that all of your windows are secure and if necessary, fit window locks or key-operated levers. Pay special attention to upstairs windows too as 23% of burglars gain access into homes this way.
Sliding windows are much loved by intruders because they are often easy to slide open. Make yours harder to open by slotting a piece of dowel in the runners – it works a treat! Check that there is no greenery such as leafy bushes growing close to downstairs windows as this may look pretty, but will offer a burglar a great place to hide before they attempt to break in. The alternative to this, is to go to the other extreme and plant a large holly bush or other spiky plant as the ultimate deterrent!
If you do have ground floor windows situated in quieter parts of your home, fit window locks with keys and window bars or cover them with security film so that they cannot be easily smashed. Fit a glass sensor that will notify you if it is broken. If you are at home during the day, don’t leave downstairs windows wide open whilst you are upstairs as an opportunist burglar could well strike.
Keep Your Garage Well Locked and Garden in Good Order
A remarkable number of people do not lock either their garage or shed and yet both contain valuable equipment – besides your car. Check the locks on both and add a second if needed. Ensure that expensive kit cannot be seen through the windows of either your garage or shed and fit grills or security film to all windows.
Make sure that you lock all ladders and tools away in the garage, otherwise they could prove useful to a burglar. If you have bicycles it is a good idea to lock them and attach them to something immobile in the garage – remember, posing obstacles to a burglar is often enough to make them leave your property and find an easier one to steal from.
If you have an automatic door opener for the garage, do not be tempted to store it in the car, but keep it safe in the house instead. If your opener is operated by a safety code, do not give the opener or its number to any delivery people.
Ensure that your garden fencing is kept in good order and keep bushes well cut so that they cannot provide cover for burglars. If you have a back gate, ensure that it is in good condition too and always keep it locked.
Buy Some Security Cameras
Security cameras can be fitted either independently or as part of a security system and the good news is that whichever you choose, cameras are a good deterrent. There are various different types to choose from including motion detectors and night vision cameras – those with a Wi-Fi capability are the best as they can be linked to your mobile phone to alert you.
Install a Security System
You will be surprised how competitively priced these are and there are different systems to suit every budget. Some systems are installed by security companies and others are available in your local DIY store. There is plenty of advice available online too. All-in-one systems usually comprise of sensors, cameras and a hub with the option of professional monitoring. If you cannot afford a system, fit a dummy box with a flashing light as this will prove a deterrent.
Don’t be tempted to think that because you live in a flat that you do not need a security system, it is well worth looking at the different systems that have been specifically developed for flats and terraced housing.
Highlight Your Exterior
Burglars do not like properties with well lit exteriors as they would rather go unnoticed! Outside lighting can work as an excellent deterrent. If you already have outside lights you can always swap the bulbs and add a special adaptor to make them motion detection lights.
The best outside security lights are designed to use intense light to eliminate any dark and shadowed areas and can produce 1,800-3,400 lumens of bright light when triggered. Some of the models on the market are solar-powered which is an extra bonus.
Invest in a Home Safe
A strong home safe that can be anchored to the floor is a good investment. Choose a safe that is large enough to store your valuable jewellery and other possessions including important documents such as passports. Home safes are not expensive but it is important to choose one that is both waterproof and fire resistant. If you prefer not to install a home safe, enquire at your local bank about keeping your valuables in the bank’s vault.
Mark Your Valuables
The police recommend that you mark all your valuable possessions such as TVs, laptops etc. using a UV security marker to write your postcode and house number on each. It is a good idea to take photographs of all items with details of serial numbers etc. All pieces of jewellery should be clearly photographed – including hallmarks. Check your house insurance and contents policies regarding high value items. You can register your property free of charge with Immobilise.
Protect Your WI-Fi
Someone gaining access to your Wi-Fi could mean that they have successfully gained access to your family’s personal data including bank details. It is crucial that you secure your router and install WPA – Wi-Fi Protected Access.
Install a firewall and an anti-virus protector too. When you are requested to use a password, ensure that it is a strong one and don’t leave a list of passwords by your laptop or taped on your office wall.
Act Now to Keep Your Home Safe
All of our advice is straight forward to implement and should help make your home less vulnerable. Sadly, it is a ‘sign of the times’ that it is essential that you lock all doors and windows every time you leave your home – and even if you are just going out into your garden. When you do leave your home, pop a radio or television on to make it sound as though someone is in and as you walk in your neighbourhood, keep an eye out for anything strange or different.
If you are planning an autumn holiday, make sure it is a restful one. Cancel papers and other deliveries in good time and arrange the ‘Keepsafe‘ service with the Royal Mail so no post is delivered and most important of all, don’t announce holiday details on social media, otherwise a burglar could be counting the days to your departure.