Trick or treat! A Halloween home security guide…

As Halloween approaches it’s not just the ghouls and what goes bump in the night you have to worry about…

As the nights grow darker the risk of burglary increases, with the majority of opportunistic thieves using big events such as Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas to their advantage.

Did you know that November is the month you are most likely to be burgled?

A home is burgled every two minutes in November. The majority of burglars will strike between midnight and 1am with 7 percent of burglaries being committed at this time. (Daily Mail)

Don’t be left out in the cold and protect your home with our winter home security tips

  • Store all bins and ladders away from your home. These could be used by an intruder to access 1st floor windows.
  • Never leave any valuables where they can easily be seen.
  • Have a spy hole or door chain fitted to keep out any unwanted guests.
  • It can be a good idea to leave a light on or on a timer, especially during the darker evenings and if you are spending a night or week away from your home! Leaving a television or radio on is also a good alternative to leaving the lights on. Security products such as a light with a timer can be purchased online.
  • If you are going to be away for a long period of time ask the Royal Mail to hold your mail with their ‘Keepsafe®’ service – they will do this for up to 2 months. It is recommended to ask the Royal Mail to hold your letters as this avoids a pile up of post inside the front door which could be an invitation for an intruder as they will be able to see you’re away.
  • Join or start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. “The Neighbourhood Watch works to bring neighbours together who want to look out for each other, creating strong, friendly, active communities where crime and antisocial behaviour are less likely to happen.” To find your local Neighbourhood Watch, or for information on how to start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, please visit the Neighbourhood Watch website. Alternatively if you don’t have a Neighbourhood Watch in your area and are going away for any period of time, inform a trusted neighbour that you are doing so, so they can keep an eye on your property.
  • Whatever time of year it is, it’s always a good idea to have a key hook fitted internally away from the front door or have a key safe fitted externally to your property. A letterbox cage/guard is also recommended as intruders will often use the letterbox to retrieve keys stored inside the house; this type of theft is referred to as ‘Key Fishing’.
  • Make sure you have lights with sensors in the garden and front of your property, this will help to deter an intruder as they are more confident when working in the dark.
  • Use a UV pen to mark any valuables so if the worse does happen it may help to make recovery easier.
  • Check the locks on all doors interior and exterior to your home, including gates or sheds and upgrade/replace if necessary. Make sure anything that can be used by an intruder to gain entry to your property, i.e. garden tools, are safely locked away.
  • When leaving your property always remember to lock any doors and windows. The majority of intruders will use an unlocked door or window to gain entry to a house.

Worried about mischief makers? Follow our tips to avoiding Halloween vandalism…

 

  • If possible park any vehicles in a garage or a protected area. Parking your car in a garage or a protected area will help to prevent vandals from egging or damaging your vehicles.
  • Fit motion-sensing lights to the exterior of your home. Increasing the lighting on the outside of your property will help to deter vandals as they will be more visible to you and your neighbours.
  • Be friendly. If Halloween is your thing then why not put up a sign welcoming trick or treaters; a poster welcoming trick or treaters can be downloaded here… The majority of people will only tend to prank people that have been unwelcoming, so just make sure you are well stocked up on candy and you shouldn’t have any disgruntled trick or treaters.

Trick or Treat Welcome Halloween Poster

  • If you’re not in the Halloween spirit there are a few measures you can take to avoid trick or treaters:
    1. Turn off the main lights inside your house and shut the curtains. The majority of trick or treaters will avoid your home simply because they will think you are either asleep or not home.
    2. Put up a sign to explain that you are not welcoming trick or treaters; a poster kindly telling trick or treaters you are not participating can be downloaded here

Trick or Treat Welcome Halloween Poster

 

Moving home?

We all know that moving home can be a very stressful time for anyone.  Research has recently shown that the most stressful experience in modern life is buying or selling a property, this means that the majority of Britons are highly stressed from buying or selling a property before they have even moved.

With so much to organise and remember after the initial stress of buying or selling it is easy for the important jobs such as changing your locks to get overlooked and forgotten.

Last year a survey conducted by Keytek® revealed that 74% of Britons did not change their locks after moving home, potentially leaving them vulnerable to break-ins by someone who obtained a key during the previous ownership.

Those who participated in the survey were asked whether they had changed the locks within a fortnight of moving in to their current home…

The survey revealed that people in the South were the most security-conscious; 35% of Southerners said they did get their locks changed, compared to just 20% of people in the North of England and Scotland.

The age group most likely to get their locks changed were those aged 35-54, while the over 55s were found to be least likely to do so.

Changing the locks on a new home is a basic security measure that has long been recommended by leading insurance companies. It is important to change your locks when you have moved house as the majority of home insurance policies state that they won’t pay out if an intruder lets themselves in with a key. For a claim to be valid there must be clear signs of breaking and entering.

Tips for changing your locks after moving house

  • Book a locksmith for the day you are moving by calling 0800 035 0451.
  • Get the locks changed on all external doors. In 3 out of 10 burglaries access was gained by a burglar through an open door or window.
  • Have British Standard locks fitted to your doors to meet your home insurance requirements. The majority of home insurance providers will require your locks to be British Standard. Failure to meet these requirements could risk invalidating any claims you make if the worse did happen.
  • Check the locks are working on all accessible ground floor windows and make sure that key-operated locks are fitted to meet home insurance requirements; this applies to skylights and roof lights also.

Winter is coming, protect your castle with our winter home security tips!

As part of our winter home security tips we have decided to jump on the ever growing popularity of HBO TV series Game of Thrones and put together the following themed security advice and tips. 

Protect your castle from raiders this winter with our home security tips… 

Everyone’s home is their castle, which is why we have put together the following home security tips to ensure you are taking precautions to keep your home safe and secure this winter.

During the winter period your home can be seen to more vulnerable by an intruder, especially in the lead up to Christmas when you are more than likely to have unopened items of high value. According to the Daily Mail and home insurance provider LV=, November is the month you’re most likely to be burgled, with break-ins occurring an estimated every two minutes. Although the risk of burglary does differ according to the type of property and level of security that is already in place it is worth taking the necessary pre cautions in order to best protect yourself and your home from a break-in.

Burglary is largely an opportunistic crime, many home insurers will advise taking certain security steps to insure your home isn’t ‘easy pickings’ as according to HomeInsuranceGuide.co.uk, “burglars are looking for a home that gives them the easiest way of committing their crime undetected, with the fewest obstacles to negotiate.” The majority of burglars will not even use force to gain entry to a property (HomeInsuranceGuide.co.uk) in fact 73% of burglars use doors to gain entry and in 3% of cases the door was open (Tesco Compare).

  • Don’t give a raider a leg up. Store all bins and ladders away from your home. These could be used by an intruder to access 1st floor windows.
  • Keep your gold safe! Never leave any valuables where they can easily be seen.
  • Keep out any unwanted guests. It is always a good idea to have a spy hole or door chain fitted as additional security.
  • Darker nights are coming. It can be a good idea to leave a light on or on a timer, especially during the darker evenings and if you are spending a night or week away from your home! Leaving a television or radio on is also a good alternative to leaving the lights on. Security products such as a light with a timer can be purchased online.
  • Put your ravens on hold! If you are going to be away for a long period of time ask the Royal Mail to hold your mail with their ‘Keepsafe®’ service – they will do this for up to 2 months. It is recommended to ask the Royal Mail to hold your letters as this avoids a pile up of post inside the front door which could be an invitation for an intruder as they will be able to see you’re away.
  • Join the nights watch. We recommend that you either join or start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. “The Neighbourhood Watch works to bring neighbours together who want to look out for each other, creating strong, friendly, active communities where crime and antisocial behavior are less likely to happen.” To find your local Neighbourhood Watch, or for information on how to start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, please visit the Neighbourhood Watch website. Alternatively if you don’t have a Neighbourhood Watch in your area and are going away for any period of time, inform a trusted neighbour that you are doing so, so they can keep an eye on your property.
  • Store all sets of keys to your castle away from your portcullis! Whatever time of year it is, it’s always a good idea to have a key hook fitted internally away from the front door or have a key safe fitted externally to your property. A letterbox cage/guard is also recommended as intruders will often use the letterbox to retrieve keys stored inside the house; this type of theft is referred to as ‘Key Fishing’.
  • Keep your fortress well lit. Make sure you have lights with sensors in the garden and front of your property, this will help to deter an intruder as they are more confident when working in the dark.
  • Brand your valuables. Use a UV pen to mark any valuables so if the worse does happen it may help to make recovery easier.
  • Check all locks to your castle. Check the locks on all doors interior and exterior to your home, including gates or sheds and upgrade/replace if necessary. Make sure anything that can be used by an intruder to gain entry to your property, i.e. garden tools, are safely locked away.
  • Don’t forget to raise your drawbridge! When leaving your property always remember to lock any doors and windows. The majority of intruders will use an unlocked door or window to gain entry to a house.

 

Locked out of your car?

 

Don’t worry! You’re not the only person in the world who has been locked out of a car at some point in their life, according to the AA  ‘lost keys/keys locked in car’ is the sixth most common reason for a car breakdown. In 2008 there were 119,907 instances where the AA was called out for this reason.

What do I do when I’m locked out of my car?

 

Firstly don’t panic, the worst thing you can do in any stressful situation such as being locked out of your car is to panic and stress yourself out further.

Don’t try to break into your car as you may cause damage to your vehicle which will be more costly than calling a local locksmith.

Here are some tips on what to do next…

Call a local locksmith on 0800 035 0451 or search for one on keytek.co.uk
The local locksmith will then ask you the following questions…

  • Where are the keys? Are they in the boot of the vehicle, back seat or passenger’s seat?
  • Are the keys in the ignition and is the engine running?
  • Has the car been deadlocked prior to the keys being locked inside?
  • What make, model and year is the vehicle?
  • Are the windows electric or manual?

Always check that the locksmith you have booked has been DBS checked (formally CRB checked) as you want to be confident in the knowledge that you are booking a credible and trustworthy locksmith to help you in your hour of need. If you are unsure of a locksmith’s identity you can always ask to see his identification badge.

Now that you have called an emergency locksmith you can sit back and relax knowing that an experienced, credible and trustworthy locksmith is on his way and will be with you within half an hour*. Just enough time to grab a coffee or tea whilst you wait!

*where possible

Have you lost, misplaced or had your car keys stolen?

If you require a new key for your vehicle for whatever reason you will need to contact your local auto-locksmith who will specifically specialize in vehicle key cutting and coding rather than calling a domestic locksmith.

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