What to do if someone breaks into your home

While the likelihood of being confronted by a burglar is slim, there is chance it could happen. The majority of burglaries tend to happen when the house is empty, but 28% of house break-ins are thought to occur when someone is home. This could be an extremely traumatic experience and you might be at a loss of what to do. We will go through some ways that you can handle the situation if this were to happen to you.

 

Burglar in your Home? Get to a Safe Place outside your Home

Many people ask “what is the first step if someone burgled my house?”. The police recommend your first course of action should always be to leave your home in the even that someone breaks in, and this is something we can’t stress enough. It’s been proven that burglars just want to be in and out of your property as quickly as possible and don’t want to cause you harm.

It’s likely that an intruder will already have an escape route planned, which according to statistics, is most likely out of the back door.

According to safe.co.uk:

“Burglars will have a clear exit to the rear of the property through the back door before heading upstairs to check the bedrooms”.

If we take this as correct, we would advise that you try and escape through the front door and stay as far away as possible from the back door. We would NEVER advise that you confront a burglar, as this is likely to cause a violent reaction. Nothing that they could take is worth risking your life for.

 

Activate Your Burglar Alarm System

Your second plan of action would to be activate your burglar alarm if you have one. This would be especially important if you have a panic button. If you don’t have an alarm fitted then try to set off your car alarm using your keys. Any loud noise will hopefully spook a burglar into running away.

 

Hide and Try to Call the Police

Your third option would be to hide. Once you are somewhere safe try to call the police. The best place to hide would be somewhere that you can either lock the door from the inside or barricade yourself in.

Once you call 999, you need to explain that someone has broken into your home. It’s important that you’re clear when you explain what is happening, although you could be extremely panicked in the moment, try to be concise.

If you are in a situation where speaking or making noise could put you in danger then you can stay silent and press 55 (silent solutions) this will alert the operator that you need assistance but cannot make a noise. Stay on the line so they can hear what’s happening, but it’s important that you stay where you are and wait for the police.

 

Be Calm, Collected and Compliant

If all else fails and you come face to face with an intruder then you have reached the worst case scenario. So, what do you do now?

One of the best things you can do is to stay calm, this is easier said than done, but try your best. The calmer you are, the calmer the burglar should be. Keep your voice at a normal level and don’t shout and scream. Don’t move towards the burglar and don’t make any sudden movements.

Another very important thing to do is to be compliant, hold up your hands and tell them to take whatever they want. Do not put your life at risk to stop them from taking anything. It could be that the intruder has covered their face with a mask or balaclava, but regardless of whether you can see their face, try not to make eye contact, and don’t look directly at them. If a burglar feels like you can identify them, then this could lead to an act of aggression.

 

What to Do After Your House is Broken Into

Your first course of action after you discover your home has been broken into, is to call the police. If you are 100% sure that the burglar is not still in the property then you should call 101.

However, if there is even a small chance the intruder is still inside then you should call 999. You MUST NOT touch anything before the police arrive, as they will be testing for finger and foot prints.

If the intruder is no longer in your property, then the police should arrive within a few hours, as the situation is no longer an emergency. Once they do arrive, they will take your full written statement, try to be clear and give as much information as possible. Once they have done all their procedures, you will be given a crime number to be able to track the progress of your case.

Once the police have left is when you should call an emergency Locksmith to secure your home. An emergency locksmith can either replace your locks or if your door is damaged beyond repair then they can do emergency boarding up, to make sure your home is secure. To find out more about emergency locksmiths visit our Emergency Locksmith Page.

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What am I allowed to do if someone breaks into my Home?

If a person were to enter your house without your permission, you are entitled to act in self-defence using reasonable force. The CPS have previously stated that you don’t have to wait to be attacked to act in self-defence, but they are very clear that only actions deemed necessary are counted as reasonable force.  

If you are to use force that is considered more than reasonable and a burglar was to suffer serious injuries during this, then you may be prosecuted. The general rule if self-defence is that the more extreme the situation the more force you can reasonably use.  

We would never recommend that you confront a burglar and it only to be used as a last resort. You need to try all other courses of action before this.

 

How do you Report an Attempted House Break-in?

If you suspect that a break-in attempt has been made, you should NOT call 999. Calling 999 is only used when you or another person are in immediate danger, or there is a crime currently being committed. As long as there is no immediate danger you should call 101 if you suspect there has been a break-in attempt.

 

What Attracts Burglars to Homes?

Any burglar’s aim is to be in and out of a property quickly, with as much stolen property as possible. So, they are more likely to target homes where they are least likely to get caught. Having things like overgrown trees and bushes and no external lighting makes it easier for a burglar to break in undetected. 47% of break-ins are spur of the moment decisions and are not pre planned, so the more secure you make your home the less likely a burglar is to choose yours.

One thing that will really attract a burglar to your home is exposed valuables. If they can see many of your most expensive items from the window then the more likely they are to try to smash and grab as much as they can. If your home looks very secure with no valuables on display a burglar is more likely to move on without attempting to break in.

 

Do Burglars Come Back After a Failed Attempt?

There are a number of things that thankfully could have prevented a burglar from entering your home; however, this doesn’t mean that they won’t try again. Unfortunately, the burglar thought that they would have been able to enter your home and would have targeted you for a reason, there is a chance that they still could think they may be able to do it successfully at a later date.

If all your security precautions do, thankfully, stop a burglar from entering your home, then that’s great. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can relax, they could try again, they targeted your home for a reason and that might mean they will attempt to break in a second time.

 

How to Protect Against Future Burglaries

Consider Installing a Burglar Alarm

The physical sight of a burglar alarm is a great visual deterrent to ward off any burglars scouting the area but also provides the sense of peace that if someone was to enter your home the burglar alarm would sound, alerting people in the area of a break in and scare off the burglar.

Act like More People are Home

If you are home alone and the doorbell goes you should always try to make it sound as though you are not home alone, you could do this by shouting “Can some get the door please” before opening the door yourself. Deterring burglars is all about appearance, giving the facade that your home isn’t easy to break into, that there are multiple occupants in the house are factors that would be considered when a burglar is choosing a target.

Teach Children How to Respond To Strangers and Intruders

A knock at the door can be exciting for children, running up to see who it is and want they might want, but this can be partially dangerous if they were to accidentally let in a stranger. Teach your children to never open the door, especially if home alone, but instead turn on a light somewhere in the house and notify someone that there has been a knock at the door.

Invest in a Few Simple Items to Make your Home Less of a Target

There are multiple things that you can do to make your home more secure and a less attractive target to intruders. Simple things such as outdoor security lights, thorny bushes and anti-climb paint are all blockers that you can implement to secure your home. To find out how to secure all the different aspects of your home head over to our Ultimate Home Security Guide.

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What are the Chances of Someone Breaking into Your House at Night?

Shockingly, night house burglary doesn’t make up the highest percentage of when are houses burgled. Most burglaries actually happen during the day, typically between 10 AM and 3 PM when everyone is either at work or school. Despite that, most burglars will also take advantage of the dark to burglar houses so security lighting is always a good way to reduce your chance of someone breaking into your house at night!

 

Change your Locks after a Burglary

Don’t waste time thinking what to do after a burglary! Once the police have left your property then you should call an Emergency Locksmith to avoid a further potential of a thief breaking in, to check if any doors or windows are damaged, or to check if you need emergency boarding up services. Keytek® Locksmiths has local Locksmiths available 24/7 so we can help you out whenever. 28% of people will get burgled for a second time at the same address, so it is important that your house is secure. Burglars will often target the same house again because of ease and familiarity. They might think they have been successful once, so they can be successful again, so it is imperative that you engage a fully accredited, trustworthy Locksmith in the UK to make your home secure again.

 

For more info on what to do after a house break in visit our Burglary Page.

 

 

Updated January 2022

House Robbery Markings

Have you ever seen a strange marking on the side or nearby your house, such as on the curb or on your bin? Have you ever come across the term “burglar code”? Did you know that burglars have been thought to frequently use a symbol code to mark out residences they wish to break into? Burglars seem to be increasingly relying on codes, symbols, and markings to assist them in choosing houses to target and in recent times there has been much speculation about these signs, which is wittily dubbed the ‘da pinchi code’.

Although the comedic name is something to be wary of. You might be asking what do these signs mean and what should you do if you are worried about being burgled? Read through our blog to answer these questions and more!

 

What are House Robbery Markings?

These ‘robbery markings’ or ‘burglar signals’ are basic sketches and forms that are supposedly used as a ‘code’ to determine whether a house is worth targeting. These illustrations are also supposed to indicate to other thieves what type of person lives at the property, such as whether the residents are vulnerable, elderly, or live in a single-family home. Read below to know more about all thief signs on houses and how to protect your house!

 

The ‘Da Pinchi Code’

The da pinchi code is the name that has been used across social media sites and news stories over the last few years that have claimed to crack the code on burglar markings! The meanings behind the markings are deemed to mean things such as ‘vulnerable occupant’, ‘alarmed house’ and ‘wealthy’.

Recently, there have been new news stories related to the ‘da pinchi code’ which rules out these findings as being burglar code based on police research, instead the meanings of the markings being much more innocent. Check out our image below to see the markings, their supposed meaning and the true meaning behind them.

 

infographic house markings

 

What Do Burglars Use to Mark Houses?

Chalk is the main material burglars use as it is easily removed and not as noticeable as materials such as spray paint markings outside the house. As well as burglar chalk signs, burglars mark houses with almost anything they can; it may be a small blob of paint or a piece of string tied around a lamppost!

White and blue spray paint markings outside the house are the most common colours used by burglars. Make sure you keep an eye out for both colour pains to avoid getting burgled!

There was also a stint in 2018 mainly found in Dublin where burglars would place clear tape over the keyholes on the exterior access doors. If the tape is left intact for the next couple of days they would know the house is currently vacant!

As well as markings, burglars also may disguise themselves as door to door salesmen; this is what we call distraction burglary. They may also post fake Locksmith contact details through your door for example, always do your research before calling trades people to ensure they are legitimate! If you need a trustworthy Locksmith, contact us here!

 

Where are these Burglar Signs Usually Located?

The burglar signs themselves are often left somewhere on the property, such as a garden wall or driveway, but are also found somewhere nearby. Chalk marks on pavement, bin, lamp post, or curb are all examples of where you can find them nearby.

 

How do Robbers Pick a House?

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Burglars who place these signs on houses or in the neighbourhood have usually already scouted the area and determined which residences are potentially the best targets. In most cases, planned burglaries will have had the house watched for a few days to learn who lives there, their daily schedules, whether they have up-to-date home security system, and whether there is anything of value within the property. Learn more about how to avoid attracting robbers to your home in this guide!

 

How Do you Know if your House has been Marked?

You might find a few different symbols around your property that seem odd or strange, in odd places that the council or workmen wouldn’t leave markings for official work. If you happen to find marks on your property that seem out of place or like an illustration, this will be burglar signs!

What Should I do if there are Chalk Markings Outside my House?

So, you may have noticed strange chalk markings outside your house or nearby? First of all, take a photo of the suspected burglar sign, make a detailed note of its location, when you first noticed it and then wash it away as best as you can.

Next, we recommend that you contact your local council to ensure the markings weren’t left by their employees doing work along the street.

Following on, if not left there by the council contact the police using the non-emergency number, 101. They may advise you to keep an eye on and record suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, including strangers frequently walking up and down the road and looking or photographing yours or your neighbours’ homes! Take into consideration that burglar road markings are very common and therefore talking to your neighbours about this can also indicate whether they have noticed anything strange and you can ask them to keep an eye out moving forward.

Finally, it is strongly recommended that you upgrade your home security to be on the safe side, continue on to see our suggestions.

Myth Busters

Although you should always be wary of any strange markings that have appeared on your home, over the last couple of years some police forces have found that in actual fact these markings are harmless! Their investigations often conclude that these markings have been used by utility firms and broadband companies to plan upcoming works. So if you do happen to find weird markings round your property don’t panic!

Is the “Da Pinchi Code” the Only Robbery Markings used by Burglars?

Many people ask how to tell of a burglar is watching your house? Although the “da pinchi code” are thought to be the main markings used by burglars anywhere on or close to your house, there are other ways that is worth considering that burglars can use to keep an eye out on your property and test whether it is frequently occupied. If you have found a stone in front of your car wheel, then you should know it could be a test from a burglar to see if you use your parked car or not.

Another scenario that has been experienced by some residents is thrown food cans on your doorstep; it is another way to leave a mark on your property and undoubtedly if cleaned then the property is occupied while if it’s left for days then they assume it is not and find it a good burglar opportunity.

There are also some common signs which you should consider when thinking about your home security.  One of the most common indicators can be a random knock at your door. This can be done by burglars to see whether you have a dog or a security system that will alert them if they break in.

Random acts of vandalism may also be observed, for example a shattered window in a remote portion of your house could be a test to see if the house is occupied. Also, if you find your trash rummaged through or strewn about, it’s possible that someone is looking for information to see if you’re a good target.

If you have experienced any of the other mentioned signs, we suggest you do a quick search to see if your house is marked.

Make sure you consider the many types of markings a burglar can leave as it is not restricted to the ‘da pinchi’ code. What you can do in this case is join your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme if you are away from home for a while!

 

How to Protect your Home Against Burglars

Here are a few quick tips that you can apply today to avoid house robbery.

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Upgrade your Home Security Knowledge with Keytek® Locksmiths

We are dedicated to helping you keep your home secure and avoid house robbery here at Keytek® which is why we are continually updating our security content on our website. If you were interested in this blog we recommend that you take a look at our Home Security Guide here where we break down home security into sections such as your front door, garden gate, outdoor lights and more.

Already checked out our Home Security Guide? Take a look at our blog page here; we aim to upload a new blog for our readers weekly!

Best Outdoor Security Cameras

Upgrading your home security to include external cameras is a practical and effective way to protect your home. However, to make the most of your surveillance requirements, you’ll need to assess the needs of you and your family, as not everyone will need the same level of security.

So, we’ve put together a guide to help you look at which outdoor security camera is best for you, your family and your home.

What you need to consider

 

Weatherproof or Waterproof?

Weatherproof means that your camera will be able to withstand exposure to weather without deterioration, so your camera could handle wind, rain, and snow without being damaged. Whereas waterproof means that your camera isn’t going to break if it’s submerged in water; no water will get in to the components to destroy them.

A consideration for buying an outdoor security camera will need to be the weather conditions where you live, to make sure you get the right one. If you live in Scotland, for example, where you get a lot of snow; it would probably be worth getting a weatherproof camera, but if you live on the South Coast of England where snow is a remote possibility, you could probably manage with just a waterproof camera.

How much of your property do you need on camera?

A camera’s viewing angle will determine how much space the camera will cover. A camera with a wider angle will mean you need fewer cameras. You will also need to think about the size of your property and how much you want in view; this will determine how many cameras you will need to buy or how wide the camera angle will need to be.

How clear do you want the picture to be?

You need to think about what kind of video you want from your outdoor security camera. The higher resolution the camera has, the better the picture quality will be. For a good quality image, you need at least 1080p, or even higher if you want crystal clear images. It depends if you are going to be studying the footage every day, or only if there is an issue.

What Resolution do you Need?

Resolution should always come on top of your mind when you decide on buying a security camera. Having a high resolution is very important as it shows you details of whoever is in front of the camera, which also leads to the main reason why people get security cameras, having a clear image of whoever is trying to break into your house. The 1080p resolution is the most common amongst all types/brands of security cameras. Again, the level of sharpness and details you will see in a video should be decided based on why you want a security camera. A security camera for the purpose of watching the kids and pets, for instance, could have less resolution than a security camera for the purpose of avoiding burglary. When an intruder breaks in your house, it is important not only to know they got inside but also to help police catch them to prevent any other intrusion in the future.

Do you want to be able to access your camera on your mobile?

This is popular feature because it allows you to check in with your home wherever you are. You will need to make sure you choose a camera that is compatible with your phone and be prepared to pay a fee for your footage. Most cloud based features will require monthly or yearly fees payed to the company that makes the camera you choose.

How much do you want to spend?

You can get pretty cheap basic security cameras, but it is a case of ‘you get what you pay for’, one or two basic cameras will be around £150-£250 but if you want multi-camera, indoor and outdoor top of the range camera with all the fancy extras, then you could be looking at thousands of pounds.

Are there disadvantages to installing a security camera?

It is hard to say any additional security would be disadvantageous generally in installing it. However, the cons of installing a security camera can still fall into different aspects:

  • Can’t 100% stop theft – though security cameras are a great addition to burglary, it only prevents but never stops theft.

  • Can be easily vulnerable – while we always try and keep ourselves up to date to all security systems that can keep us safe, so are burglars. An experienced burglar will likely be able to understand your device and find ways to disconnect it.

  • Privacy issues – security cameras, in general, have been affiliated with many controversies regarding privacy as it prevents someone’s privacy based on where it is placed. No matter where you are installing your camera, it is important to consider all government regulations to avoid getting in trouble.

The Best Outdoor Security Cameras in 2021

1.  Arlo Pro 4 Wireless Camera

Overall Best – £219.99 from Amazon

Features

  • 6 month Battery health
  • 2k Video with HDR
  • 160 Degree Field View
  • Colour clear night vision in complete dark

The smart device, Arlo Pro 4, can be controlled and connected with your choice of smart assistance, including Apple Home Kit (interestingly it also works with your Apple Watch), Alexa, and Google Assistant. Setting it up is very easy; all it takes is a few minutes as you open the app and follow all the steps.

Certainly, the Arlo Pro 4 is weather resistant so you can place it wherever you want no matter the weather! Alongside the camera is built-in siren which mainly is used to put off burglars. A two way audio is also included, which can be used to scare off burglars by speaking (letting them know your house is not empty!). While most cameras will provide you with clear quality, the Arlo Pro4 gives you a superior coloured quality.

 

2.     Reolink Camera Wireless Argus 2

Most Affordable – £67.19 from Amazon

Features

  • 1080p HD Resolution
  • 130 degree field of view
  • Up to 64GB of storage video
  • Six Infrared LED sensors to help you see in complete darkness

The Reolink Camera Wireless Argus 2 is one of the most affordable options out there. However, this doesn’t mean it lacks any of the options you would want.Along with a reasonable price, set up only takes a few minutes and it comes equipped with not only a brilliant camera but also a built-in siren that could scare away burglars. Given that it’s a smart device, Google Assistant is compatible with it, offering the convenience to access the camera from your phone.Of course, the Reolink Argus 2 outdoor camera is weatherproof, making it adaptable to be placed anywhere you want and with it’s rechargeable battery with a solar panel it will continually charge! Lastly, the Reolink Argus 2 has a 2 way audio system, which can be used for many different reasons including pre-set voice alerts and live communication.

 

3.      Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera

Best for scaring away burglars – £89.99 from Amazon

Features

  • 1080p HD resolution
  • Weatherproof
  • 130 degree field view
  • Coloured night vision
  • 6 months battery

The Arlo Essential Spotlight outdoor camera is a perfect choice for putting off burglars, considering all its features. Besides providing a sharp video, it sends email alerts as soon as it recognizes any motion and it even works well with smart apps, such as Alexa and Google Assistant, providing convenient security. In just a few steps that are prompted through the app, set up is easy and fast but what makes the Arlo Essential Spotlight unique in scaring off burglars is that you get 2 devices in one not only does it capture and record video, but the attached spotlight draws attention on anyone who might be lurking around. The camera is weather resistant also which makes it easy to place it anywhere!

 

4. Blink Outdoors 1-Camera System

Best for long life battery – £89.99 from Amazon.

Features

  • Two year battery life
  • Motion detection
  • Weatherproof
  • 1080p Sharp Resolution
  • 110 degree field view

The Blink Outdoors has many pros, however one of the main reasons why it’s so popular is its good battery life. Considering it uses two AA batteries that last for up to 2 years, it is a perfect choice if you are a person who goes away for a long time. It’s also very easy to replace the camera’s batteries once their life ends. Other advantages to the camera are detecting motion through email alerts on your phone, working well Alexa, and withstanding all different weathers.

 

5.      Ring Stick-Up Cam Battery

£89.99 from Amazon

Features

  • Live view
  • 130 degree field view
  • 1080p Resolution
  • Two way audio
  • 6-12 months battery life

The Ring Stick-Up Cam Battery by Amazon comes on top of the list when it comes to convenience. In addition to integrating with Alexa and Google Assistant, the camera offers instant notifications as well as two ways audio, working in different climates and adaptable to weather changes. The camera will automatically change to its night mode whenever it’s needed, which certainly provides a better quality to use at night. Another advantage is that it could be powered by Ethernet, which instantly eliminates any wireless internet connection concerns. This is a very safe option knowing that if your Wi-Fi went down for any reason, your camera will still be working and providing you protection.

6. Google Nest Cam

Best for intelligent alerts – £319.99 from Currys 

Features

  • Indoor or Outdoor
  • 1080p HD resolution
  • 130 degree field of view
  • Two way audio communication

This camera is best known for its intelligent alerts which identifies whether a motion was an animal, person, or vehicle. In fact, it can even send alerts when it detects the sound of a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm going off! It’s no surprise its face recognition also works very well and no further surprise that it does so by working with Google Assistant. Although it is weatherproof and designed to be placed outdoors, its easy installation has seen it be used indoor as a security camera also. As a wireless camera, there are no wires just the simple download of an app to get going.

 

Smart Locks vs Traditional Locks

Having a secure door lock is one of the most effective ways to protect your home and ever since Smart Locks came on to the market, there has been an ongoing debate about whether they are A) safe, and B) more secure than Traditional Locks. We are going to look at a thorough comparison of smart and Traditional Locks, and see which comes out on top as the most secure.

Traditional Locks

When we talk about ‘Traditional’ locks, we are referring to the typical locks you see on pretty much every door; a Euro Lock, Mortice, Yale type (Night Latch) etc. These are the locks that you know already, and will most likely have on your door. These locks need a physical key to open them. Have a look on our ultimate guide to traditional locks here.

Traditional Lock

Smart Locks

When we talk about ‘Smart’ locks we are referring to a lock that is controlled by your phone, or another devise such as a fob. These locks use either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and not a physical key to unlock your door. Read our ultimate guide on smart locks here!

Smart Locks

Door Lock Security

This one is the biggy. Which lock is actually more secure? The one big issue facing Smart Locks is that anything that is connected to the internet can be vulnerable to hacking. So if you install a Smart Lock for your home, there is a chance someone could break in by hacking the lock. This is one fundamental flaw that affects all Smart Locks.

With Traditional Locks it’s hard to give an overview of safety because they are all different and many factors have to be taken into consideration. However, we will just look at common locks that you will find on your front door, like a Euro or a Mortice Lock, as they are vulnerable to picking.

Traditional front door locks are susceptible to breaks in; arguably just as much as or even more so than a Smart Lock. An experienced burglar can snap a Euro Lock and gain entry to your house in seconds (see more on our lock snapping page). You can invest in an anti-snapping lock, but this is still vulnerable to ‘picking’.  This is also true of Mortice Locks. You can get high security locks that are anti-snap and anti-pick.

When deciding which the most secure lock is for you home, you need to think about whether it’s more likely an intruder will pick your lock, or hack it. Statistics show us that burglary is a crime of opportunity, so it’s not likely an intruder will have pre planned to hack into your smart door lock. As discussed, Smart Locks often run off Bluetooth or Wi-Fi so there is always a chance this will fail, potentially leaving your home vulnerable.

There is a lot of debate about which lock is the most secure lock for your home. Both have the strengths and weaknesses.  So, comparing them on secureness might not make you decided one way or another. It’s the other factors that might make up your mind.

Convenience

This is an area where Smart Locks definitely come out on top. The ability to let someone into your home from miles away is great. Especially if you have children that tend to misplace their keys during the school day. In this day and age, people are generally never without their phones, so it’s a good way to ensure you are never locked out.

With Traditional Locks, if you want to grant someone access to your home while you are not in, you would have to trust them with a key, or leave on under the mat (which we strongly advise against). These can both cause security issues, as it’s an open invitation to any burglar who finds it and you trust someone not to lose the key. Having a Traditional Lock also means that if you lose your key or lock yourself out, whomever else has a key would need to physically come to your location to let you in.

However, a phone running out of battery, having no internet access or something disrupting the Bluetooth means that you could be locked out of a Smart Lock. Most Smart Locks do have a key override for this reason, but you may feel this defeats the object of having a smart door lock, a physical key is never going to run out of battery or lose connection.

 

versatility & Control

The Smart Lock market is growing very quickly, and more options are constantly introduced to the market. When it comes to versatility, Smart Locks come on top of the competition. Although the device is controlled by a phone or other smart device, regular keys will also work most of the time. Some Smart Locks have fingerprint scanners on the inside, while others have touch sensors that actuate the lock to open or close a door. In terms of versatility, some Smart Locks can even connect to different other smart devices, including the Amazon Echo.  As for control, you can use key tag, keypad, or your mobile phone to control your lock or even to log in activities and see who has accessed your door when you are away. Traditional locks wouldn’t be considered as versatile. There are many options with different brands in the market, but the way to use them is often somewhat the same.  As for traditional locks, you can control who has a key and ensure that you have high security locks fitted, but this does not protect you from having your keys stolen.

Smart lock vs traditional lock cost

smart lock vs traditional lock cost

Generally speaking, Smart Locks are more expensive than Traditional Locks and this could be a big factor in your decision. So we will run through some general prices and what you get for your money. (This is not taking in the account the cost of hiring a locksmith to fit/replace your locks)

Depending on what door you have the cost for a new lock will change. A replacement cylinder for a uPVC door starts at £25 for the most basic lock. This price will change if you have a wooden door, as you will probably need a Yale lock replacement or a Mortice Lock replacement. With a Yale Lock you can just replace the cylinder and that starts at £15 and upwards, but if you needed the whole lock and back set replaced, the price starts at £35. When changing a Mortice Lock you need to decide if you want a 3 Lever or 5 Lever, (5 Levers are generally used for external doors, and 3 Levers for internal).  5 Levers start at around £45 and 3 Levers at £25.

If you wanted high security locks then the price will jump up again. For the highest grade anti-snap or anti-bump lock, the price will start at £30. Higher security Mortice Locks start at around £40.

There is no denying that Smart Locks are more expensive than Traditional Locks. The cheapest Smart Lock out there is the Candy House Sesame Smart Lock and that’s around £100. The bigger names for Smart Locks out there are August and Yale and they will set you back around £250-£300 for the basic package. You have to think whether or not the extra cost is worth it, but you get all the benefits; lock and unlock your house from anywhere, send friends and family virtual keys and receive notifications about whose entering and leaving.

Smart Locks will use the same mechanisms as Traditional Locks, so really you are paying extra for convenience. If you wanted to pay extra for home security, you might be better off investing in an entire smart home system that includes cameras, motion detectors and an alarm system.

The Future of Home Locks

The future of technology holds many aspects in home security. The main concern is what the future will be like in terms of home security, especially when it comes to your property’s first line of defence, which is your lock. In fact, smart locks will be part the ever changing technology just like other smart device. Just like any other technological device, it is very expected that smart locks will the future of home locks, with convenience taking a huge aspect of it.  In fact, in 2020, 47% of UK households own already a smart home device, apart from smart TVs and watches.  Therefore, it is not a surprise to expect that convenience would win and the future will be mainly smart locks.

 

For a full buyer’s guide on Smart locks visit our Smart Locks Blog.

Call Keytek® Today!

There is nothing that can make your house 100% secure, but by taking some simple measures you can deter thieves. Look out for sturdy doors and windows or consider replacing them when they are old and worn. Having the locks changed is one of the BEST things you can do to protect your new home.

Hiring a professional Locksmith to fit these is the only way to be sure that your locks are insurance compliant. Keytek® offer a free home security check with every job we do, so if you book us in for the day you move we can appraise your home and give you our best advice on how to keep the burglars away.

You can find a rough guide for the cost of Locksmith services on our Locksmith Prices Page.

Are Key Safe’s, Safe?

Do you have a key safe or considering buying one? Key safes are popular amongst the vulnerable who struggle to come to the door when a family member or carer knock the door and so are extremely useful in having a spare key numerous people can access without the need to cut dozens of spare keys that could get lost and end up in the wrong hands.

But how safe are key safes? Take a read through our blog below to discover how to keep your key safe secure!

 

What is a Key Safe, how does a Key Safe work?

A key safe is a strong and durable metal box secured to the wall outside of your home in which to keep your house keys stored safely inside and only accessible with a personal combination code.

 

Types of Key Safe

First and foremost you should only consider buying a key safe that has the police approved Secured by Design logo on them. These key safes have been put through their paces and have been approved to stand rigorous testing.

There are a few designs on the market, the most common being a 3 or 4 wheel combination key safe. Push button key safes are popular due to the ability to create a code from thousands of numerical options, and newer to the market due to the digital age you can now purchase digital key safes that operate through an app on a mobile phone.

 

 

How to Keep your Key Safe Secure

Where you install your key safe is highly important as this can help prevent a thief from targeting it. Follow the pointers below before installing your key safe and how to keep it continually as secure as can be:

  • Out of Sight: Ensure that you cannot see the key safe from the road to prevent chance burglars taking the risk to break into it. You can help conceal your key safe by hiding it behind a pipe, a window box or with a plant for example. It is also worth considering placing it somewhere you can see the safe from your home so that if someone were to try to break into it you would know about it.

 

  • Eye level: Ensure your key safe is not placed at eye level; this will help keep it hidden to those who should not know it is there.

 

  • Identifiable: Is the key safe easily identifiable? If so, why not try your hand at some DIY to fix a removable casing over the top of the key safe. You could try to blend this in with the other external boxes on your home such as the gas meter.

 

  • Door location: Following on from the above pointers, you should ensure that the key safe is well hidden and not located within easy sight of the door to prevent burglary.

 

  • Regularly change the code on your key safe to ensure that it cannot be guessed or remembered by those who should no longer know the code, e.g. moving into a home with a key safe installed.

 

 

Fitted Correctly

Remember, your key safe is only secure if it has been fitted correctly. Always check the manufacturers guide or call a professional to help if you need it.

 

Will a Key Safe Invalidate my Home Insurance?

We all know that your claim to your home insurance will become invalid if the intruder used a key to access your home which is why it is vital that you never leave a spare key under the mat or in a plant pot as these are the first places burglars look! But what about if an intruder gained access to your home using a key that was secured inside your key safe?

It is a bit of a grey area with key safes and home insurance, there could be a number of reasons as to why the burglar has access to the keys such as, was the key safe left open and unlocked and did the perpetrator have knowledge of the combination code? All these factors including the home insurance provider’s rules will have a part to play in whether a key safe will invalidate your home insurance.

We suggest that if spare keys are needed to access a vulnerable persons home for example than a key safe is the best way to go. Spare keys can get lost if multiples are cut and end up in the wrong hands and leaving a key under a rock is a big no, no. Please remember a key safe isn’t 100% secure and there is no way to currently 100% secure your home from burglars.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

For more information on how to keep your home as secure as can be take a look at our other blogs on our website including: ‘How to be Insurance Compliant’ and ‘How not to Lose your Keys in 2020’.

 

https://www.homesecureshop.co.uk/blogs/news/should-i-have-an-outdoor-key-safe?_pos=1&_sid=c5c250dd3&_ss=r
https://www.thurrock.gov.uk/crime-prevention/key-safes
https://www.compareukquotes.com/insurance/home/what-can-invalidate-home-insurance

Would the Traps from ‘Home Alone’ Work?

We are big fans of home alone over here at Keytek and have decided to look at the traps that Kevin Macalister sets up for the ‘Wet Bandits’ and whether they would be useful in actually securing your home.
Now in doing some research into the traps Kevin sets up and the real life consequences of using them on real burglars, we definitely would not advise that you employ any of these tactics. However, there is a ton of home security inspiration to be taken from the Home Alone movies. We will go through some of Kevin’s most ingenuous booby traps and advise you on how to secure your home.

The Spider Surprise

Kevin employs the use of his brothers’ pet tarantula to give one of the intruders a fright. Now, spiders are not the most common of pets in the average UK household. But other pets such as dogs can be a good deterrent to a potential burglar. The noise of them barking or moving around the house is an asset, and the use of a ‘beware of the dog’ sign is an extra precaution.

 

The Slimy Ladder

 

Kevin has the ingenious ideas of smearing the rungs of a ladder with goo, making it impossible for one of the ‘Wet Bandits’ to climb up. We can take two things from this, one; do not leave ladders in a place that they can be used to gain entry. Also you can invest in ‘anti-climb’ paint; this has a thick oily coating that looks glossy when applied. However, it remains slippery and makes it almost impossible for a burglar to climb your wall.

Let the TV do the Talking

‘Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!’ may the most iconic line from a fake movie within a movie. Kevin tricks the ‘Wet Bandits’ by playing a film loud on the television. While this is amusing in the film, the principle is solid. Sounds and lights will deter burglars from breaking in. You can set timers on lamps to come on and off periodically, to give the allusion of a presence in the house. You can even buy a T.V Simulator that flashes different coloured lights, so to someone looking through a window, the television seems to be on.

Secure the Perimeter

Kevin uses a couple of techniques to secure the perimeter of his home. He ices the stairs, the ‘Wet Bandits’ slip and fall, so are unable to reach the front door. He also heats up the front door knob to such a temperature that it burns the pattern into one burglars hand; he also throws bricks at them from the roof of the house. We do not suggest ANY of these however; securing your perimeter is a good idea. Your fencing, hedging or walls can attract or deter burglars. Check for weak spots, a rusty lock or unstable fence for example. A thorny hedge around your home can put thieves off, but you will need to make sure that passers by can still see the front of your home, so a burglar won’t go unnoticed. A gravel drive way is a great deterrent, as an intruder will be put off by the noise it makes when walking on it.

Get to know your Neighbours!

Kevin spends the entire movie scared of his ‘creepy’ neighbour Marley and does not go to him for help. But it is he that saves Kevin from the ‘Wet Bandits’ at the end of the film. If Kevin had got to know his neighbour; he could have gone to him for help straight away. It is important to get to know your neighbours as they are the people most likely to notice if something unusual has happened in your house. You can also ask then to keep an eye on your home if you go on holiday, move any post that may be hanging out of your door.

 

Kevin’s antics are extreme, and of course are done for comic effect, so we definitely don’t recommend you copy him. However a lot of inspiration can be taken from the Home Alone Movies; taking steps to protect your home and belongings is the most effective action you can take against burglaries. So make sure you don’t leave yourself venerable. Visit https://www.keytek.co.uk/security-tips/ to get more advice on how to secure your home.

Home Alone information from;

https://www.lv.com/atheart/stuff-we-love/lessons-learned-from-kevin-mccallister

https://www.youi.com.au/youi-news/5-lessons-we-can-learn-from-home-alones-kevin-mccallister

https://www.lv.com/atheart/stuff-we-love/lessons-learned-from-kevin-mccallister

Images sourced from;

https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/films/743992/Home-Alone-theory-Old-Man-Marley-Kevin-McCallister-Macaulay-Culkin-Roberts-Blossom

The Top 26 Torturous Home Alone Traps

Top 5 Wi-Fi Doorbell Cameras

In this age of smart phones, home hubs and app controlled heating; it’s not surprising to see the emergence of Wi-Fi doorbell cameras. We will do just about anything to keep our home and family secure, so are smart doorbells a worthy investment? We are going to look at the five most popular doorbell cameras in the UK and see what they offer.

 

Ring Video Doorbell 2

Price- £179.00 (Amazon 2019) Ring Website ring wifi doorbell

The Ring doorbell camera offers you 1080HD video, which is a pretty high resolution for a doorbell camera. It allows you to see, hear and speak to anyone that comes to your door from wherever you are. Ring provides instant mobile alerts and two way talk that you can answer from your mobile, tablet or PC. The Ring doorbell can be adapted to meet your needs; you can adjust the motion sensors. So if you own a cat that will be around your property, you won’t get an alert every time they move.

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 includes a quick release rechargeable battery, so you are able to charge it without having to take the whole thing off your front door. If you are worried about it being switched off for any period of time then we recommend you buy 2 batteries, so you always have power for your Wi-Fi doorbell camera.

The camera has a viewing range of 160 degrees and has adjustable motion zones. Don’t worry about having it outside in bad weather, as it can cope with temperatures as low as -5c and as high as 48.5c. it’s is also weather resistant meaning its fine getting rained on, snowed on or even hailed on. Ring will also connect to the Amazon Alexa, so you can see who’s at the door with an Echo Show or a Fire TV.

Ring is the most dominant presence in the Wi-Fi doorbell camera game, so you can be sure it’s the most advanced smart doorbell out there. However it does come with a rather large price tag. So it’s worth looking around to see what other doorbells are out there.

 

SkyBell Wi-Fi Video Doorbell

Price- £100.97 (Amazon 2019) Skybell WebsiteSkybell wifi doorbell

The SkyBell offers almost exactly the same features as the Ring Wi-Fi doorbell. The small difference being that with Skybell you get a notification when someone rings the doorbell, as well as motion notifications.

The set up seems relatively simple, as you only use 4 screws to mount the Wi-Fi door bell and can use any existing doorbells power wires.

The Skybell also features 2 way audio, meaning you can have a conversation with whoever is at the door. The app allows multiple people to have accounts, so everyone that lives in your house can have view who has been to the front door. Even at night you will be able to see clearly who is at your front door in full colour night vision. Also, if you’ve not had chance to look at who’s been around your property all day, then there is an ‘Active History’ function that means you can review any missed visitors, any answered video calls and motion alerts.

One of the biggest differences between the Skybell and Ring is battery vs hard wired, with the Sky bell being wired in. Depending on the doorbell you currently have, you may find the battery controlled Wi-Fi doorbell a little easier to set up. However if leaving something that controls your home security on a battery worries you, then having it wired in is a selling point.

 

Vivint© Doorbell Camera™

Price- Available on Request Vivint Website

The Vivint Doorbell Camera is probably the most elegant looking Wi-Fi doorbell on the list; it has a thin, understated design meaning that it is considerably more subtle than a security camera and some of the other Wi-Fi doorbells. It’s also comes with the standard features of a Wi-Fi doorbell camera, notifications and video footage etc. The video quality is slightly lower than some other smart doorbells at 720p HD and has a night vision feature.

Vivint promotes a discreet way to secure your home and boasts that it will warn you before a person even rings on your doorbell. On their website its says;

“The minimalist design of Vivint Doorbell Camera mimics a regular doorbell to blend seamlessly with your home exterior and keep your entryway feeling like a meeting place, not a TSA checkpoint.”

So if you’re conscious of advertising that you have an expensive smart doorbell attached to your door, the Vivint might be for you. To be able to use a Vivint Doorbell camera you will need to invest in a Vivint smart home monitoring package and this will cost you extra in equipment and monthly fees. Installation is a bit more involved and requires a specially trained engineer to come to your house and set it up for you. They do not specifically state the price of the camera on their website, but if subtly is your thing then Vivint is definitely worth looking in to.

August Doorbell Cam

Price- £200 (August website 2019) August Website

 

August is a big player in the smart home security game. They are best known for their smart locks that allow you to open the front door with your phone. However they also have a Wi-Fi doorbell on the market, the August Doorbell Cam. The August can be wired in using the same connection of your current standard doorbell, so there is no need to rely on batteries. You can then set it up inside by using the USB dock provided.

 

August differs from other Wi-Fi doorbell cameras by not having a night vision feature, but instead including a full colour light that will illuminate anyone standing at the door. However like the others it allows you not only to live stream footage from your front door, but going back and review anything you missed. The camera will start recording when it senses movement, so you shouldn’t miss anything important.

The instillation of the August is a bit more involved than some of the other options, as you are required to mount brackets and use a drill, which if you are not DIY minded, could be a struggle for you.

 

Netvue Vuebell Doorbell

Price- £89.99 (Amazon 2019) Netvue Websitenetview wifi doorbell

Like all the other doorbell cameras the Vuebell doorbell comes with its own app, meaning you can check the video feed from anywhere. The doorbell itself includes HD cameras, 2-way audio and Night Vision. The Vuebell automatically detects unusual motions and alerts you by sending a notification to your phone. Or if you are out and someone rings the doorbell you can have a real-time two-way conversation with them.

The camera is pretty good, with a wide viewing angle of 185 degrees and a vertical viewing angle of 118 degrees, meaning that the entire area around your front door will be covered. Like most of the camera doorbells, it runs on Wi-Fi, with Vuebell you can have it up to 100 metres away from your wireless router. That means it doesn’t matter where it is in your home, the connection will not suffer from inference. The doorbell also has eight infrared LEDs that can help you see things even at night.  You can capture a clear photo at night within five meters.

The Netvue is a good piece of kit if you’re looking to keep the cost down. However you won’t be able to connect the Netvue with any other smart devices, such as a smart lock or another smart camera. The Netvue does also have a slightly budget look about it.

Video Storage Fees

 

What most of the makers of these Wi-Fi camera doorbells fail to mention is that if you want to keep the footage of your home then you will need to subscribe to a monthly storage plan. As hours and hours of video footage takes up a lot of storage space, it’s not possible to store it all on the doorbell itself. Most companies will store your footage on a cloud based server, some may offer you some sort of free cloud storage, while others offer you none at all.

Ring

 

The Ring Video Doorbell may be one of the most advanced cameras out there, but they offer no free storage. This means unless you open a live stream immediately after receiving a notification, you might miss what going on. For the motion based video to be stored you have to subscribe to a ‘Ring Protect Plan’. You can either pay £2.50 per month (£25 annually) for their Protect Basic Plan, which will store all live videos for up to 30 days. Or you can pay £8 per month (£80 annually) for the Protect Plus Program. This is useful if you have more than one Wi-Fi camera doorbell, as the plan covers unlimited Ring devices. You still only have 30 days’ worth of storage with this plan, but you do get an extended warranty and discounts in the Ring store.

 

Skybell

 

Skybell does not offer a storage plan of any sort. But it does offer free 7 day storage, so if you are looking for a WI-FI doorbell camera that can store footage for a long time, the Skybell is not for you.

 

Vivint

 

As with the price of the actual doorbell, Vivint are not advertising the price of their video storage plan. However on their website it says you get 30 days’ worth of video (which seems to be the standard) for a ‘fraction of the cost of most video storage solutions’.

 

August

 

August does offer various plans, the Free Basic Plan offer 24 hours of saved video history; this comes automatically with the doorbell so there is no need to sign up. They do offer a ‘Premium’ storage plan, which is around £4 a month or around £50 annually. This offers 30 days of saved video history and saved video clips of all activity captured. On both plans you can download and share saved videos and everyone that has the August app can use it.

Netvue

 

Netvue does not offer any free video storage; instead they offer three paid plans. The first is Ring Video Storage which is around £2 a month (or around £20 a year); this plan will record and save any doorbell rings and conversations on the cloud for future viewing for 30 days.

The second plan is around £6 a month (or £69.99 per year) and offers 14 days of 24/7 recording. This means your doorbell will be recording continuously and you can access and review the footage for up to 14 days.

The third is around £1 per month (or £19 per year) and you are able view 10 second of any event, this is available to watch for 30 days.

 

So, Should you buy one?

Buying a WI-FI doorbell is a good investment in the security of your home, especially if you want to be able to connect with people at your front door while you are away. However, you do need to consider how much you want to spend and how much you are willing to pay for the video storage. We hope this guide has been useful and make sure you check out our other blogs on home security.

Images from;
https://august.com/
https://en-uk.ring.com/
https://www.netvue.com/
https://www.vivint.com/