Make your property more secure MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR THE BURGLAR
Most burglaries are committed by opportunist thieves. In two out of ten burglaries they don’t even have to use force – they get in through an open door or window.
Look at your home through the burglar’s eyes – are there places where they could break in unseen? Have you fitted strong locks on your doors and windows? Would they have to make a lot of noise by breaking glass?
A third of burglars get in through a back window.
Easily visible locks may deter some thieves, because a window lock forces the thief to break the glass and risk attracting attention. DIY shops sell inexpensive key-operated locks to fit all kinds of window.
Fit key-operated window locks to all downstairs windows, those which can’t be seen from the street and easily accessible upstairs window, eg. 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 a human head.
Remember to remove keys from locked windows and to keep them out of sight in a safe place.
Louvre windows are especially vulnerable because the slats can be removed easily from the frame. Glue the slats in place with an epoxy resin, and fit a special louvre lock. Better still replace them with fixed glass.
If you are replacing windows – consider laminated glass.
Good lighting can deter a thief.
Some exterior lights have an infra-red sensor that switches the light on for a few moments when it detects something in its range. Sensors can be bought separately to convert an existing outdoor light into a security one.
Look in when you’re out.
Most burglaries happen when a property is empty, so:
Use time switches – available from DIY shops – to turn on lights, radios and other appliances when you’re out.
Don’t tempt the thief – keep all valuable items out of sight.
Don’t advertise your absence(on facebook) when you’re on holiday, or even when out at work or shopping. Most burglars will only tackle an empty property.
If you can, get a neighbour to look after your property when you’re away, by collecting your post, drawing your curtains at night and generally making the place look lived in. And be prepared to do the same for them.
BURGLAR or INTRUDER ALARMS
Visible burglar alarms make burglars think twice.
There are many systems on the market, ranging from cheaper DIY alarms to more sophisticated alarms costing hundreds of pounds. Easily installable ‘wire-free’ alarms are now available where by sensors fitted around the property transmit radio detection signals to a control system. These systems usually take 3-4 hours to fit. Wired alarms are cheaper but take longer – around a day – to install.
Get specialist advice and a number of quotes.
Consult your insurance company for companies they recommend before deciding which best suits your needs. The system should meet EN50131(professionally installed)
Remember, a badly-fitted alarm can create problems in itself. Don’t install a DIY system unless you have the electrical knowledge and practical skill to do so.
IF YOU LIVE IN A FLAT
The most vulnerable part of your flat is likely to be the front door.
Replace a weak door. It should be as strong as the main entry door.
Fit hinge bolts which stop the door being pulled off its hinges.
Fit a steel strip to the door frame to strengthen it.
Consider having a door telephone entry system installed. Never ‘buzz’ open the door for strangers to hold the door open for someone who is arriving as you are leaving.
Never leave a spare key in a convenient hiding place such as under the doormat or in a flower pot – a thief will look there first.
If you’re moved into a new house, consider changing the back and front door locks – other people may have keys that fit.
Fit a strong, lockable, high gate across the passage to stop a thief getting to the back of the house where they can work undisturbed. If you share an alleyway with a neighbour, ask their permission and for help with the cost.
GARAGES AND SHEDS
Often full of expensive tools ideal for breaking into the rest of the house – and often left unlocked.
Never leave a garage or garden shed unlocked, especially if it has a connecting door to the house – a thief could get in and work on the inner door in privacy.
Fit shed and garage doors with a strong padlock and make sure that they are solid enough not to be kicked in.
Lock ladders inside the garage or shed to stop a thief using them to reach inaccessible windows. If there is no room inside, chain or padlock them horizontally to a sturdy bracket on an outside wall.
GATES AND FENCES
Check for weak spots where a thief could get in – a low or sagging fence, or a back gate with weak lock.
A thorny hedge along the boundary can act as a deterrent. But make sure that the front of the house is still visible to passers-by so that a burglar can’t work unseen.
DOORS - SECURE ALL DOORS
If your front and back doors are not secure, neither is your home.
Make sure the doors and frames are strong and in good condition. Doors should be made of solid core construction – 44mm thick.
Glass panels on or around the door are especially vulnerable, so replace them with laminated glass.
Fit back and front doors with a five-lever mortice deadlock – and use it.
Fit all exterior doors – top and bottom – with bolts. Remember to fit all security devices with strong screws or bolts.
Get specialist advice on fitting locks to patio doors.
Fit both French doors, top and bottom, with a security mortice lock and mortice bolt.
Patio doors should have special locks fitted top and bottom unless they already have a multi-locking system.
If you’re thinking of buying PVCu or metal framed windows or doors, make sure that they come with good built-in locks and a fitted chain, which can be very difficult and expensive to add retrospectively.
Look in your telephone directory for the names of local locksmiths who are members of the Master Locksmiths’ Association.
Most front doors are fitted with a rim latch which locks automatically when the door is closed but can be opened again from the inside without a key.
For extra protection you should consider installing the following:
This locks automatically when the door is closed, but when locked externally with a key, cannot be opened from the inside.
These help you to speak with strangers at the door without letting them in.
Remember, if in doubt, keep them out
Buy a chain and use it every time you open the door.
Fit a five-lever deadlock about a third of the way up the door. One kite marked to at least BS3621 should satisfy most insurance requirements.
A deadlock with a key, so a thief can’t smash a nearby panel to open the door from the inside; if the thief gets into the property through a window they can’t carry your property out through the door.
Check that the door hinges are sturdy and secured with strong, long screws.
For added security fit hinge bolts. These are inexpensive and help to reinforce the hinge side of a door against the use of force.
Enable you to identify callers before opening the door.
Never hang a spare key inside the letterbox – an obvious place that a thief will check.
Consider fitting a letterbox cage which prevents thieves from putting their hand through the letterbox and trying the locks from the inside.
Postcode your property
In only 9% of cases where something has been stolen is property returned.
Marked property can deter burglars because it’s harder for a thief to sell and can help the police to return it if found.
Mark items with indelible identification – showing your postcode and the number of your house or flat or the first two letters of its name – using a permanent etching tool or an ultra-violet marking pen. Only use UV marking when other methods would reduce the value of the object, because the mark can fade.
Take pictures of all valuable items like jewellery and silverware and write down the serial numbers of your TV, video, hi-fi, home computer and camera equipment, to help the police identify them should they be recovered. If you have many valuable items, fit a safe.
Ask your local police station for ‘postcoded property’ stickers to display in the front and back windows of your house.
Are you fully insured?
Insurance will relieve you of the financial worry of replacing stolen goods and many insurance companies offer reduced premiums for people with good home security. Ask the firm if it minds which systems you buy.
With all security, consideration must be given to the risk of fire and means of escape. Fit a smoke detector – a minimum of one per floor – installed to the manufacturer’s instructions to BS5446 Part 1.
Be a good neighbour
If you see anyone acting suspiciously in your neighbourhood, call the police. Join a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme – there are now over 130,000 in this country. Anyone can start up a Watch – call your police for details.
If you are burgled
A secure home ill reduce the chance of you getting burgled. But, if you get home and notice signs of a break-in:
Don’t go in or call out – the intruder could still be inside.
Go to a neighbour’s to call the police.
Doors - Secure All Doors. If doors are not secure, neither is your home. Fit back and front doors with five lever mortice deadlocks - and use it. Fit all exterior doors - top and bottom - with bolts.
Windows - A third of burglars get in through a back window. Fit key-operated window locks to all downstairs windows, those which can't be seen from the street and easily accessible upstairs window, e.g. those above a flat roof or by a drainpipe.
Lighting - Good lighting can deter a thief. Think of having external security light with infra-red sensor that switches the light on for a few moments when it detects movement in its range.
Home & Away - Don't tempt the thief - keep all valuable items out of sight. Don't advertise your absence when you're on holiday, or even when out at work or shopping or at home sleeping. Most burglars will only tackle an unoccupied house.
Think about it – if you know your home security looks are poor, so will a thief.
A safe is a relatively inexpensive way of prevent your small but highly valuable possessions to get into the wrong hands. Even if a burglar gains entry into your home, you must take further steps to prevent them making off with your most prized possessions.
LOCK: Make sure your door is locked when you are at home. Don’t unlock it until you’re sure who the caller is on the other side.
STOP: If someone appears at your door always look through the spy-hole or the window to see who it is. If you’re not expecting any visitors, check that all the doors are locked.
CHAIN: Keep the bar or chain on while you are talking but if you decide to open the door, put the door chain or bar on first.
(Normally, when the door is shut and locked, leave the bar or chain off, in case you need to get out in an emergency)
CHECK: There are a lot of bogus callers about, for example, claiming that they are from utility companies. Ask for, and double check, their identity card – ring their employer if at all concerned to confirm their identify. If they can’t show you any identification, don’t let them in.
• lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you’re just out in the garden
• hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight
• install a visual burglar alarm
• install good outside lighting
• leave radios or lights in your house on a timer
• make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition
• store valuable items (including passports, driving licences and bank statements) out of view
• hide cash and wallets away
• secure bikes at home by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage
• keep ladders and tools stored away; don't leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home
More tips that can keep you safe
If you live in a building that has a shared entrance, be careful about ‘buzzing’ people in or holding the door open for a stranger when you walk in or out of your building.
Never leave a spare key in a convenient hiding place, such as under a flowerpot or doormat, or behind a loose brick. Burglars know to look there. They will also check the garage or shed for spare keys to get into your flat or house.
Doors and windows
In most burglaries, the criminals broke into the house or flat through the door, either by forcing the lock or kicking it in. So make sure your doors are strong and secure. Consider fitting a bar for extra strength; a locksmith can advise you on how best to do it.
Glass panels on doors are particularly vulnerable. If you have one on your door you could replace it with laminated glass, which is stronger. You can also buy a film in a DIY store that you can stick over the glass to make it harder to break.
If you are fitting new doors or windows, make sure the ones you buy are certified to British Standard BS7950 (for windows) or PAS 24-1 (for doors).
Join Neighbourhood Watch
You can help keep your street safer by getting involved with your local Neighbourhood Watch team.
By working with your neighbours to look out for each other’s property, you can make burglars’ work much harder.
A front door with no peephole—or one that's too high—won't provide any security. Make sure your front door has a peephole at a level that everyone in the family can see through.
A chain lock on the door is not strong. If the door is opened, just a simple push on the door will pull the screws right out of the doorframe. A better way to keep intruders out is a doorstop that screws into the floor, making it nearly impossible to open the door further.
Another good way to reinforce your doors is to install deadbolt locks directly across from each hinge. This way, the door is equally stable on both sides.
Treat windows with a protective covering like ShatterGARD, available at. Someone can hit the window, but even if it breaks, the covering will hold the shards in, and keep the criminal out.
• Trim bushes to waist level.
• Arm your alarm, even when you are at home.
• Exposed phone lines should be buried. A thief can cut through them to circumvent your alarm.
• Lock your gates and fences. Metal gates and fences are best because the noise that they make when opened is a deterrent.
Small barking dogs (like Chihuahuas and Poodles) are a better deterrent than large dogs.
Never leave ladders, unchained patio furniture or garbage cans in your yard. A burglar will use them to gain entry into your home.
Disconnect the computer. Make sure your computer is turned off and disconnected from the Internet, particularly if it contains personal information. Also put away or shred telltale bills and receipts that add to the risk of identity theft.
Set the alarm. Activate your alarm system; be sure to notify the home security company of your days away and provide interim contact information.
Trim the trees. Finish all major yard work before you go, with special trimming attention given to trees and shrubs near windows and entries (a burglar doesn't need much to hide behind). Then put away all yard equipment and tools.
Plan maintenance. Line up help for outdoor chores such as mowing and manual watering so overgrowth and faded plantings don't give away your absence.
.Collect mail. Have your house helper collect mail, parcels and newspapers daily. For added home security, invite a neighbor or family member to park a car in your driveway for the duration.
Never have your name posted outside of your home:
These days a quick search on the computer using your last name and a street address will tell a criminal more than you want them to know! Burglars look for ways to increase their odds of getting in and then out! If they know your last name and where you live, they may get your phone number. They could use your phone number to see if you are home or away! Burglars worry about being discovered, so their first step is to find a place that has no alarm! There second step is to make sure no one is home and find a way in where nobody will notice them coming and going!
Never leave notes on the door:
Leaving notes on a door just attracts attention! In fact people leave notes with checks and money for people that are stopping by! If you have to leave money or a check, leave it under a mat in a sandwich baggie or something! A burglar or even just a regular criminal could see a note and stop to check it out! Besides, leaving a note implies that you aren’t home and that is one of the criteria a burglar is trying to find out! Burglar are opportunists looking for the opportunity to rob you!
Never leave a spare key outside your home:
Burglars always check that first! A smart criminal knows to lift the mat and look for fake rocks! If you need to have a backup way into your home, get a door lock that uses a keypad or combination to unlock it! Or get a keypad opener for your garage door! There are better ways to gain entry to your home than to leave a key outside! A key could be stolen and then your home could be cased for the best time to really rob you blind! Leaving a key outside is just inviting trouble!
Take photos of your valuables:
This serves two purposes! If you get robbed you may need to show proof of what you owned! And if you have a fire this will also be needed! Having photos of your most valued possessions also allows the police to see what they are looking for! Make sure you do this one, it’s important!
Check your homeowners insurance:
Call your agent and have him review your policy with you! Make sure he understands your concern of why you have insurance in the first place! Tell him that you don’t want any surprises in the event you get robbed or have a fire! He should be able to tell you what is covered and what is not. Also ask what you would need to present in the event something like this were to happen! Insurance companies are downright sneaky and they are really out for themselves and not you! An insurance company is your best friend as long as the checks are going their direction! In the event of a fire, my advice to you is to shut up when your agent sends the appraiser out! He is not your friend! He is there to limit the overall liability of his company to you! Also ask about robberies where there is no sign of forced entry! Like the above scenario where someone bumps a lock or finds a way in without leaving evidence of how they got in! Your insurance company could just leave you hanging and refuse your claim!
Make your entry doors kick resistant:
One of the top ways a home is entered is through a doorway! Burglars just kick the door and the frame of the door splits out! You can install several types of plates that reinforce a doors frame and increase your home security! Remember it’s about making your home a harder target! If a burglar kicks your door and it doesn’t budge! He may just take a second moment to reconsider a new easier target!
Check your sliding glass doors:
Many sliding glass doors can be picked up right out of the frame! Even if they are locked and have a pole in the track! Install a sliding glass door lock at the base of the door on the track side. This prevents the door from being lifted out of the track! Install a bar behind the door as a secondary backup to the track lock! Or better yet install the double lock safe slider lock! It’s easy and stops the door from being lifted out and jimmied open! This is an important part of your home security so make sure you check this! Patio doors are an easy in for an intruder!
Know the facts:
Most burglaries happen during the day and not at night! Burglaries make up 25% of all property crimes! More than 60% of burglaries involve forced entry! Burglars spend less than ten minutes in your home and then get out! A security system reduces the time they have to rummage through your home! The items they take are jewelry, laptop computers, guns, portable electronics, and cash! Having a safe and an alarm system can stop the majority of loss in a burglary! The most frequent entry point is the front main door! Lock bumping and kicking the door in are the primary ways of gaining entry!
Here are some more interesting facts about home security!
Where Burglars Enter a House…
80% or more of residential intrusions occur through the first floor of the home!
34% of burglars entered through the front door!
23% through a first-floor window!
22% through the back door!
9% through the garage!
4% entered through a basement!
4% through an unlocked entrance!
2% through a storage area!
Only 2% entered through the second floor!
Check the garage door:
A garage door can be an easy way into your home! Many homeowners just close the garage door and don’t lock the inner door to the house! Worse than that is leaving the garage door open and locking just the bottom lock or knob lock on the inner door! A burglar could enter the garage, close the door, and then kick that inner door in or bump the lock! Remember that a burglar is looking for places that will give them cover! A garage offers all the cover that a burglar could need. Also make sure that you don’t just leave the garage door up all day long. Many garage robberies happen and then aren’t even known for days until you realize that your scooter or weed whacker is gone. The garage is definitely a place to increase your homes security! Watch the video below for the first thing you need to do to improve your garage security! You need to wrap wire around the emergency release so it can’t be pulled easily from outside the garage! There are so many different types of garage doors it’s hard for me to give you just one solution! The idea is to just stop this function all together! The chance of you needing to use this feature is slimmer than someone using it to get in! Just make sure that you can undo whatever you have done if need be!
Mark your belongings:
Get a permanent marker, engraving tool, or a UV marker! Write your Drivers License Number on expensive items so if they are stolen and recovered the Police know who to contact! Marked equipment and belongings are harder to pawn off. A UV marked item is invisible to the eye without a UV lamp. UV lamps are commonly used by police on crime scenes. Engraving your belongings is a more permanent way of marking them that is not easily removed like permanent marker can be! Marking expensive items like flat screen TV’s, laptops, and even game systems is important! These are some of the most commonly stolen items since they are easily pawned in a second hand or pawn store!
Lock up ladders and tools:
A ladder laying against the side of your home just screams rob me! Burglars know that few people lock their second floor windows. Once in they will just use the front door to get out. If you have a ladder store it in the garage or lock it up with a chain. Make sure that it is completely out of view of the street. A burglar checking out your home because he sees a ladder won’t be able to see the chain! Getting close to your home may just reveal another way to get in.
If you have a burglar alarm, move the key pad away form the doors and windows:
Many homes have the keypad for the alarm system in plain view of the front door or front windows. This is a bad idea since many alarm systems have serious defects that are know to criminals and not you! Plus having the panel in view of the door will tell a burglar weather it is armed or not. It will also reveal what the make and model of the unit is! Move the keypad out of view and post a security sign by the front door instead! Check to make sure that you don’t have an “all in one” alarm system! These are commonly given out by the top security companies and are junk! An all in one system has the systems brain and keypad in the same unit! If an intruder comes into your home and trips the alarm they have 60 seconds to make a choice! If the thing that is beeping is the size of a phone book and has wires run to it, then disarming the alarm is as easy as destroying it or cutting the wires before the 60 seconds is up!
With home burglary on the rise, many families are concerned with keeping their homes and families safe. There are plenty of things that can be done to deter burglars and keep a home safe and secure. Preventing burglary is about knowing a few key tips that will help make a home look like an unlikely target. There are also additional things like alarms and surveillance that can help deter burglars as well. CCTV and wireless systems can give owners constant access to the situation in and around their home through the internet.
The first thing to be done when owners want to know how to prevent burglary is to clean up the yard. When the appearance of a home is tidy it looks like regular maintenance is being done and that deters burglars. Don’t leave tools, toys or other items out lying around. It is always a good practice to not allow people into a home that are unknown. Even apartment buildings where a person has to be buzzed in to gain access, never allow anyone in that is unknown. Let the space around the home be a natural barrier to would be burglars.