Restoring your Home Security after a break in

Being burgled is a traumatising experience that can leave and your family feeling unsafe in your own home. As expert Locksmiths we have created our top tips on how you can restore your home security to help you and your family feel safe.

 

What to do immediately following a break in

Signs that someone has gained entry to your home are easy to spot; forced opened doors and windows, broken glass, and valuables scattered across the floor. Your first instinct may be to investigate and clean up, but we strongly advise against this, first things first, you need to call the police.

 

Contact the police

We suggest going to a safe spot, like your car or a neighbour’s house*, and contacting the police to report a break in. If it is not an emergency, for example if your life is not in danger, then we suggest calling the police on 101 and not 999. However if you are concerned that there might be people still in your home then we suggest calling 999 for emergency services.

 

Take account of your missing items

When the police arrive, they will take evidence and statements, ask if anyone saw anything and what items you think might be missing. They then will compile a report and give you a case number; you may want to jot down this number as it can be needed for insurance claims etc and will help you to keep track of your case.

 

Take pictures

Take pictures of your house, any broken windows or doors and any valuable items. This will help later down the line as more evidence you can supply, the more your case is strengthened.

 

Call a Locksmith

Once the police have given you the all clear, it is time to call a Locksmith. Professional Locksmiths are experts in replacing and repairing broken locks and to some extent doors and windows, however if it is a job beyond repair then a Locksmith can secure your property for you by boarding up and securing any broken doors and windows until you can have them replaced.

When you call out a Locksmith, we always suggest consulting with them to find out what are the best security locks for your home and what benefits they hold. Not all locks are created equal, so having a higher security lock installed will help you to regain some feeling of safety. Also ask them about their suggestions of home security and what they think can be done to your property to minimise the risk of the incident reoccurring.

To find out more about Emergency Boarding Up and Burglary Repairs.

 

What to do within 24 hours of a break in

Unfortunately, when a break in happens some of the after events have time limits on and although a traumatic experience there are a few things you must do as soon as possible.

 

Make a list

The police would have asked you about any large ticket items in your home when they came to the scene, but it is always best to try and create a list of all the items stolen. This could be valuable pieces of jewellery, large electronic items or personal effects like credit cards or passports.

When creating the list, try to find any receipts that can prove when you bought the item and how much, and take note of how long you have had the item and it’s estimated worth.

 

Call your insurance

Your insurance provider will usually have a process that you need to follow to make a claim, whether it is home or contents. As said before, the more evidence you have, the stronger your case and the more likely to be accurately compensated. Some insurance policies have time limits on when you need to make first contact to make a claim so as soon as possible is always the best policy, even if you just notify them.

For damage to your home, such as broken windows and doors, they might send someone out to access the damage but anything you have had to do to secure your home like boarding up or repairs can often be claimed back assuming you have an accurate invoice and can provide evidence of the damage beforehand.

 

Call your bank

Although you may not always know what has been stolen, it is always best to contact your bank and make them aware you have been victim to a burglary and to flag any suspicious activity on your account.

 

Contact credit reporting agencies

Ask for a security alert that will create a red flag for any lenders. This means that should a burglar gotten access to your private information, it will prevent them from opening credit cards and loans in your name.

 

Securing your home to prevent further break ins

Protecting your home from further crime is the most important step it helps to give you some peace of mind that your home is secured. Burglars are known to revisit the scene of the crime, because their logic is if they can get in once they can do it again. Hence, we highly suggest that you take some pre-emptive steps to ensure that you are not a target.

 

Install better locks

Like explained before, no lock is made equal, there are some locks that have better security features and burglar deterrents that can help to deter those targeting your house making it more difficult for them to enter your home. Updating the security on your home doesn’t only make you feel better, but also puts out a signal to burglars that you’ve taken steps to make yourself a harder target and therefore are a higher risk to try and break into.

 

Install motion activated lights

Dark spots around your home and garden are perfect places for someone to hide, so reduce that risk by placing motion sensor lights around the exterior of your home to illuminate entry points. This increases the risk that someone burgled will been seen or get caught thus making you a less attractive target.

 

Look into getting a security system

Items such as security cameras and burglar alarms are not only great systems to give the confidence that your home is safe but also are great visual deterrents to put off would be burglars. At the end of the day making yourself a less appealing target to ill wishers is the best way to prevent crime and keep your home secure.

 

If you would like to find out more about our security suggests, head to our Home Security Guide where you can find all the answers to your security questions and the best security tips from expert Locksmiths.

 

*Depending on government restrictions

Christmas Safety Tips 2020

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… this year will be a little different for us all and we will be staying at home much more than we would probably like but it is still important to be vigilant when it comes to your home security. It comes as no surprise that the number of burglaries spike over the festive period with many expensive presents found under the tree. Check out our top 5 Christmas Security Tips for 2020 in our blog below:

 

  1. Hide it away

Never leave your presents (or any valuables) in-view of the windows. Many chance burglars are tempted by the shimmering of the wrapping paper and it will instantly make your home a target.

 

  1. Keep quiet on social media

It may be tempting to post your present stack on social media or share your new Christmas presents online but this could tempt burglars to track down your location and attack your home. You’d be surprised how easily burglars are now able to find your home address through social media. Remember it might be warming for you to publish photos of your children opening their presents but this still gives away the valuables found in your home.

 

  1. Cyber security

Another type of burglary that might slip through your mind is online burglary. Online scammers are also hot on the case around Christmas time as many of us will be receiving more emails from your online shopping orders or Christmas competitions. You might be shopping online more as of late, ensure the website you order from is a secure site, look for the ‘S’ after http:// a secure site will show as https://.

 

Never open a link or an attachment from an email address you don’t know and remember your bank will never ask for your pin code.

 

  1. Christmas lights

Christmas lights outside your house are a great way to spread joy but ensure you don’t feed your cable from the inside to the outside through a crack in the window. Burglars will be looking out for such thing and it makes entering your home easy work. Try using solar Christmas lights instead, this way you do not need to feed the wires through your home and also helps save on your energy consumption too!

 

  1. Lock your doors and windows

We know, we say it a lot. But it can never be said enough. Always lock your doors and windows when leaving your home, at night and even just whilst you’re sitting at home. If a burglar enters your home through an unlocked door or window you can almost guarantee your insurance claim will be void.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

We wish you all a happy and safe Christmas 2020. If you liked this blog why not check out our others including Winter Safety Tips 2020 and How and App can Save your Life!

Top Locksmith Tips for Landlords

As a landlord you have certain responsibilities to maintain and ensure that your property is safe for your tenants. This means up to scratch locks, regular safety checks and general maintenance. As security experts, we have put together our top tips for landlords to ensure that your property is safe!

 

1.    Ensure your door locks are up to the task

The first step in securing your rental property is to ensure that you have the right locks. With many different types and models on the market it can be hard to determine which locks are the best. We always recommend a lock that is up to British Standard as these locks are tested against common forced entry techniques making them more resistant to forced entry. Do bear in mind that no lock can 100% guarantee complete resistance to forced entry but higher security models can offer more endurance.

A forced entry technique that is common in burglaries across the UK is cylinder snapping. This technique involves snapping poor quality euro cylinder locks to gain access to the internal mechanism which will then allow the intruder access, to prevent this look for a model which is anti-snap. An anti-snap cylinder has a break line built in so that should the external casing be purposefully snapped it will break in a specific place that will still protect the internal mechanism, denying access to the intruder.

 

2.     Secure your window locks

Ground floor and accessible windows can be vulnerable so they should always be closely looked at in terms of security. Ensure that you give the same level of attention to your windows as you do to your doors in order to help secure them against potential intruders.  There are a variety of different window locks and models that will have different security features that can suit your individual needs.

 

3.     Don’t forget about garages, sheds and outbuildings

Any extra space to a property is always appealing, whether it’s more space for your tenants or private space for your own personal storage. You will want to make sure that the same care and attention is given to securing these extra spaces as they can often be a target for intruders. Sheds and garages are hotspots for break-ins as people tend to leave expensive tools in them unsecured. Whether you have valuables stored in these extra spaces or not, you should ensure that they are properly secured as to make them less vulnerable to attack.

 

4.     Make an informed decision about when changing the locks

Whenever you start a new tenancy it is always strongly recommended that you change the locks. This is because no matter how trustworthy a previous tenant might be, you will never know if any keys were made and lost or who might have an extra key. For peace of mind you should always change the locks at the end of a tenancy to secure your property.

Should you wish to change any locks at any point during a tenancy, you must give your tenant adequate notice of the lock changes. You must ensure that they have a copy of the new key before the locks are changed or when it is convenient for them, so not to leave them without access to the property which would be a break of contract.

 

5.     Know your property

It is always helpful to understand what will secure your type of doors and windows. Understanding the most common locking systems for your property access point can help should there be an issue and a Locksmith needs to be called in. Knowing all of the aspects of your property better will allow you to know the proper maintenance needed to care for it and keep it in the best condition.

 

6.     Assign an emergency Locksmith

Not everyone can be available 24/7, so it’s important to have an emergency Locksmith on hold should your tenant need security assistance. If a door, lock or window should break and a tenant cannot get in touch with a landlord, having a second number to call will allow them peace of mind but also makes the process easier for the landlord. By setting a preferred Locksmith, you can be assured that any emergency work carried out will be to a high standard and you can have an idea of what the cost will be should they be called out.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

Why not check out some of our other recent blogs including Winter Safety Tips 2020 and How to Baby-Proof your Home.

Winter Safety Tips 2020

As the colder weather draws in and brings freezing temperatures, snow, ice and a whole host of other things that can make your daily life that little bit more complicated it is important to be vigilant about your safety and security. Our winter safety tips include things you can do for your doors and windows, your home, your car and how to keep yourself safe during the winter of 2020.

 

Winter Safety Tips for your Windows and Doors

Keeping your windows and doors in good nick is vital over the winter as any drafts can be fatal and getting locked out in the freezing cold is no fun game!
Draught proof your windows and doors

  • Weather Stripping: Weather Strips are an easy and inexpensive way to help prevent the drafts entering your home. The simplest type consists of a roll of foam with a sticky backing that you simply stick to where it needs to be.

 

  • Door Sweep: A Door Sweep fits to the bottom of your door and helps seal the gap between the door and the threshold. This allows less heat to escape as well as protecting it from other things such as dust and insects.

 

  • Draught Excluder: Another simple, easy and effective way to keep draughts entering your home is to add a draught excluder. This is just a long, rectangular cushion that you place at the bottom of your doors.

 

Sticking Door

Changes in the weather can cause your doors to expand and contract and prevents your door from working as it should. It may be a case that your hinges need loosening or tightening but it is always best to call a professional in to ensure you don’t accidentally put your security at risk.

 

Locks

  • Frozen Locks: Over the winter, more moisture enters your locks and if it is cold enough cause them to freeze. Never put hot water on your doors or locks in the winter, unfreeze them with a lighter or hairdryer if you can!

 

  • Dirt in Locks: Another reason your locks might be faulty is due to a build-up of dirt inside the lock. You can attempt to take the lock off to clean it yourself but only if you feel capable to as you do not want to damage your lock and leave your home vulnerable to break-ins or void your home insurance. If you need a Locksmith find your local Locksmith here!

 

Winter Safety Tips for your Home

Spending a few minutes to check over the security of your home for the winter period will save you a whole lot of hassle further down the line should something go wrong.

  • Locate your stop tap: so you can turn it off should your pipes freeze and burst.

 

  • Bleed your radiators: if you have noticed that your radiators are getting hot at the bottom but not at the top it is time to bleed your radiators.

 

  • Gutters and Drains: Clear your gutters and drains to prevent flooding and damp issues.

 

  • Pipes: add lagging to your exposed pipes to prevent them from freezing over, including your outdoor taps.

 

  • Roof: check your roof over for any damages to prevent leaks and draughts.

 

 

Winter Safety Tips for your Vehicle

Your vehicle needs a little bit of extra attention during the cold months and so does your attention to the roads when travelling. Take a look at our top vehicle winter safety tips below:

  • Lights: ensure all of your lights are in good working order, as you’ll need them more often. If don’t know already, located your fog light for when visibility is bad.

 

  • Tyres: check your tyre tread depth, look for damages in the tyres and add snow chains where necessary.

 

  • Exhaust Pipe: clear any snow or debris from your exhaust pipe. A blocked exhaust pipe can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

  • Fuel, Oil & Water: check the levels of each of these. Insufficient levels can cause freezing over, talking of which add anti-freeze to your windscreen wash!

 

  • Emergency Kit: add or replenish an emergency kit to your vehicle. Your emergency kit can be life-saving if you are stuck on a cold, snowy night. It should include water, snacks, a blanket, and change of clothes, first aid kit, torch, batteries and a phone charger.

 

  • Heaters: ensure your heaters are working in your vehicle, not only to keep you warm whilst travelling but to clear your windshield when condensation builds.

 

  • Travelling: plan your journey well ahead of time, check the weather reports and stick to the main roads where they will have more than likely been gritted where needed.

 

Personal Wellbeing

Keeping yourself safe over the winter period is just as important as all the other factors we have mentioned. Remember the following during the next few months:

  • Hypothermia: to avoid hypothermia try to keep your body warm by moving about regularly, drink lots of warm drinks, eat substantial meals and wear lots of thin layers to keep your body temperature over 35 degrees. Remember to check in on your elderly loved ones and neighbours over this period as they are more susceptible to hypothermia and at a higher risk of death.

 

  • Snow and ice: avoid paths where snow and ice are more prevalent such as alleyways and short cuts, it is not worth slipping over and injuring yourself.

 

  • Covid-19: it is vital that we all do our bit to keep the spread of infection under control. The virus has a higher spread rate over the winter as more people are likely to be sneezing and coughing from colds and flu. Remember hands, face, space.

 

Keytek Locksmiths

Did you like this blog? Why not check out some of our others including Best Burglar Alarms and 5 Things to do Whilst in Lockdown: Security Edition!

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.universalwindowsdirect.com/blog/1224-9-common-door-problems-that-arise-in-the-winter
https://www.rospa.com/resources/hubs/winter

How to Baby-Proof your Home!

Bringing home a newborn baby is an exciting time and you want to make sure that your home is safe to receive your new bundle of joy. The best way to make sure your home is safe is to baby proof your home; ideally well in advance of your due date.

Whether a newborn or a toddler, there are some steps you might need to take to make your home the safest it can be. However, keep in mind that these suggestions are by no means exhaustive and you should always do your research and consult professionals to any extra precautions you should make.

 

General baby-proofing tips

 

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on every level of your house if you have oil and/or gas appliances, alongside smoke detectors on every level. Check out our carbon monoxide guide here! 
  • Ensure your smoke detectors are in good working order, there should be at least one on each floor. Find out smoke detector guide here!
  • Check the batteries of all detectors.
  • Have either a fire blanket and/or fire extinguisher, and know how to use it.
  • Keep a first aid kit
  • Keep a note of all the emergency numbers
  • Put non-slip pads under all the rugs

 

Baby-Proofing the Kitchen

In the kitchen there are many every items that can be dangerous to your little ones, most are obvious but there are those that we don’t think about.

kitchen graphic

Unplug any electrical appliances not in use such as irons, kettles and grills etc.

Not only does it help save on energy wastage, but it ensures that when not in use they are not conducting heat which could potentially harm you child if they touch it.

 

Store your handbag, and those of any visitors, out of reach.

Something as simple as a pen cap could be very dangerous if swallowed, and you never know what could have been left in your bag or that of your visitor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. By tucking any bags at the back of the kitchen counter or in a cupboard, it helps to reduce the risk of little hands grabbing something potentially dangerous.

 

Lock sharp objects, toxic substances and chemicals away in secure cupboards.

You don’t have to go all out and place child locks on every draw and cupboard but storing the items that are dangerous to everyone away in secured cupboards is always a smart thing to do. Once your baby starts to crawl and when toddlers become more curious they won’t understand that something may be harmful. To help eliminate the threat you can lock them in with child proof locks, securing them away from your children.

 

Consider getting rid of tablecloths and hanging objects within reach.

Tablecloths and cords can be pulled and tugged on, which doesn’t sound dangerous but can pose a real threat. If the dining table was set with crockery; plates, knives and forks and glasses with a child tugging on the tablecloth, it could mean that the whole spread could come crashing down on that child.

 

Baby-Proofing the Lounge

vector graphic of a lounge highlighting baby proof ideas

1. Secure all loose furniture by placing it behind larger pieces of furniture

2. Cover all unused plug sockets with protectors

3. Cover sharp corners with bumpers or safety padding; if its hit it will still hurt but will cause less damage.

4. Hide any cords or wires behind casing or furniture.

5. Ensure that any blinds have safety tassels and cord stops to tuck away the cords; also consider getting rid of any with looped cords.

 

Baby-Proofing the Nursery

nursery graphic

  • Place baby wipes and supplies where you can reach them but the baby can’t.
  • Remove cot mobiles with long cords; to avoid the baby from grabbing at them.
  • Keep the cot apart from any other furniture, including shelves or objects that could fall on your baby
  • Finish all painting/wallpapering at least 8 weeks before your due date to air out any potentially harmful fumes
  • Ensure that the cot slats are more than two and 3/8 inches apart with the bolts and screws tightly fastened.
  • Ensure there are no gaps between the mattress and cot.
  • Keep bumpers, blankets, comforters, pillows and toys out of the cot when the baby is in there.
  • Ensure that all furniture is built correctly and in line with instructions and safety measures.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

There are many more things you can do to secure your home before the baby arrives and you’ll probably need to re-assess when your baby starts maneuvering around. If you liked our blog on baby-proofing your home why not check out How an App can save your Life and Protect your Home like a Palace: Buckingham Palace!