Unfortunately we are all aware that break-ins do happen but are you aware of the type and frequency of crime that occurs in your local area?
Whether you are moving home or are currently a homeowner, it is important to consider the security risks that may pose in your local area so that you may protect yourself against the possibility of a break-in.
Emergency locksmith Keytek®have developed a ‘How Safe is Your Neighbourhood?’ Crime Statistics Widget which can be found at keytek.co.uk/crime-stats/national/. Simply visit the URL, input your Postcode or Town into the dedicated field and click ‘Find’, which will then take you to a map hosted by Police.UK (www.police.uk) that highlights specific areas where various levels of crime have taken place, from anti-social behaviour through to burglary.
The majority of burglaries are premeditated; although if the opportunity is there an intruder may act on it i.e. leaving a ground floor or easily accessible window open. Many home insurers will advise taking preventative measures to protect your home and to adhere with your home insurance requirements; this can often be found in the small print of your home insurance documents.
Some General Advice…
The majority of Insurance Companies may specify that your property must be fitted with British Standard locks on your doors and windows – so what are British Standards?
- In order for any lock to be classed as a ‘British Standard’ lock they must have been through rigorous testing including strength, durability and of course security, these products are also re-assessed and re-tested to ensure you have complete confidence in the safety, quality and reliability of the locks you have installed in your home.
So how do I know if my lock is a British Standard lock?
- On the face of any lock that is a ‘British Standard’ lock you will see the British Standard Kitemark image, this may also be accompanied by BS: 3621 2007 (mortice locks) or BS: TS007 (Euro cylinders) which are the current British Standard required for Insurance purposes.
Home Security Tips…
Keytek® have put together the following list of ‘Home Security Tips’ so that you may best prepare yourself against a break-in.
- Store bins and ladders away from the property as these can be used to access 1st floor windows.
- Never leave any valuables where they can be seen by a burglar i.e. in view of a window!
- Don’t discuss any holiday plans on any types of open forums i.e. Facebook or Twitter. Posting details of when you will be away from your property will let any of your followers know that your home is potentially vulnerable.
- Keep out any unwanted guests – it is always a good idea to have a spy hole or door chain fitted as additional security.
- 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 in most DIY stores and 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.
- Store all sets of keys away from the front door! Whatever time of year it is, it’s always a good idea to have a key hook fitted internally away from the front door. Having a key safe fitted externally to your property may be a preferred.
- 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’.
- Lights with sensors in the garden and front of your property will help to deter an intruder as they tend to be 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 any 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 the 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.
As part of this security advice homeowners are also encouraged to join or start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in their local area. The Neighbourhood Watch works closely with the community 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 www.ourwatch.org.uk/