1: Lock your doors! The most fundamental of home security tips is of course to keep all windows and doors locked. When you leave the house it is crucial to make sure that a potential thief has absolutely NO easy access to you home, 15% of burglars will enter through an unlocked door, don’t make that mistake! When reporting a break in, an unlocked door can also affect insurance claims enormously, with some people being denied pay outs simply for because they left a door unlocked!
59% of burglaries occur whilst the victim is home, and this statistic is rising every year. Therefore it is equally important to lock up your home whilst you are in it. Not only at night, but during the day when you may be gardening or having a nap, burglars will seize any opportunity to slip in and out of a property. Any downstairs windows left open at night are a prime target for burglars so try and get into the habit of checking every night before bed.
2: Don’t hide spare keys. It is common knowledge that most people will hide a spare key somewhere in their garden, and for this reason most burglars will not hesitate to hunt it down. You may think you have found a genius hiding place, however, serial burglars will have had a lot of experience with finding spare keys and may very well find it. Giving a trustworthy neighbour, close-by friend, or relative a copy of your key is a good alternative for this problem.
3: Secure your shed. Your house isn’t the only roof that needs keeping safe. For most people their garage or shed will house valuable tools – tools that can be then used to break in to your home. Ladders are a main concern as, though you may lock your downstairs windows, one open first floor window plus a ladder is an easy entrance for a burglar. Similarly, if your shed stores tools such as screwdrivers or crowbars a burglar could easily use these to force a door or window open. Once again, getting in to a lock up routine before going to bed could help save your home from a break in. Further advice on shed security.
4: Keep Keys out of sight. Many homes will keep their keys on hooks or a table near the front door, which is handy for remembering them BUT also provide another opportunity for burglars. There are tools on the market which can enable burglars to reach through letter boxes or pet doors to access your keys, once again allowing for an unforced entry. Try using a closed box, or using a different location to store your keys, or a letterbox with brushes that can make it hard for prying eyes to see what’s on the other side of your door.
5: Outside lighting. Motion activated lighting for your garden can be a great deterrent for burglars as a sudden bright light illuminating their every move will make them very exposed. When purchasing lighting, consider the areas most vulnerable, hopefully paired with a window you can easily look through to check. Also different lights have different ranges of sensitivity, meaning that if you have a big garden you will need a more powerful sensor. Make sure to research before buying.
6: Burglar alarms. Much like a security light at night, activating a burglar alarm will expose an intruder very quickly. Most alarms will have ways to install sensors to doors and windows which, upon opening, will trigger the alarm if activated. Even a dummy alarm, or one that no longer works, can be a great preventative measure as most dummy alarms look very convincing and it will be hard for burglars to tell the difference. Burglars may often decide to not take the risk, and instead go looking for a home without any alarm systems.
7: Use British Standard Approved locks. Most insurance companies will be reluctant to pay out after a burglary if you are not using BSA locks. This is because there are locks out there which made from cheap materials and are easily broken or unlocked, compromising your home security immediately. Give your house the best protection possible by always buying reliable, trustworthy brands.
8: Social Media. Posting personal information about going on holiday, new expensive belongings, or any other compromising information, can seriously put your home at risk from burglary. In a new digital age, potential thieves can easily search through social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook to see if anyone near them is on a family holiday, or even home alone, and assess if they want to attempt a burglary. Adjusting your privacy settings can also help, as well as removing ‘location’ settings from your posts.
9: Light Timers. If you are on holiday or out of the house for a prolonged amount of time, it can become obvious to regular passersby that your house is unoccupied. To combat this there are several plug in timers available which can activate your lights on a timer, turning them on or off, to make it look like someone is in. There are also several inventive products like a FakeTV Burglar Deterrent Device which when turned on, uses flickering lights to simulate a television from behind closed curtains. This also works on a timer so you can set it to work just in the evenings.
10: Keep Trustworthy Neighbours in the loop. When you are on holiday, a friendly neighbour can come in very handy as they can keep an eye on your house as well as do simple things to help deter burglars. For example they can make sure your mail doesn’t build up behind your door – an obvious sign of an empty house- by moving it every few days. Also if you have a driveway you could even give them permission to use it, so that a car is parked on your property intermittently.
Hopefully you have found these tips useful, home security requires constant maintenance and one unlocked door can change everything. If you are unsure about your home, our locksmiths are available for a security survey 24/7, please do not hesitate to call 0800 0612 677 or visit lockrite.org to find an expert in your area.