In order for any type of lock to be classed as ‘British Standard’ the lock must have been through strict testing this includes the strength, durability and its security. You need to look for the British Standard Kitemark to make sure your lock is British Standard. By using these locks you can give yourself a sense of security, knowing they have been through rigorous testing.
Bins and Ladders should be stored away from your home
These could be used by any potential thief to gain entry to your house.
Put away your valuables
Never leave any valuables in direct view of a window, it’s like advertising the contents of your home to any potential intruder.
Don’t share holiday plans on social media
Letting everyone now when and for how long you will be away from your property is dangerous. An empty house is a burglars dream.
Make it look like someone is home
Invest in a light timer, you can set you lamps to go on and off during the day, even if you’re away! Giving the illusion that someone is in the property. You can take this to the next level by purchasing a TV simulator that gives the impression that someone is watching the television inside your home.
Fit a security light outside
Having a security light on a sensor outside your property will deter burglars as they are often more confident when it’s dark.
Store all house and car keys away from the front door
This will help stop what is known as ‘key fishing’ which is method of entry used by burglars, utilising the letterbox. A letterbox cage or guard is a good protection method as is a key safe.
Lock your doors!
Of course the most simple thing you can do to secure your home is to make sure all the windows and doors are locked. The majority of intruders will use an unlocked door or window to gain entry.
Check the locks on any gates or sheds and upgrade/replace if necessary.
Make sure anything that can be used by a burglar to gain entry to your property i.e. garden tools is safely locked away.
As part of Hertfordshire Constabulary’s ‘The Top Five Operation Guardian Tips’ they recommend securing your garden by shutting and locking any gates and making sure you lock away any garden tools as these can be used by burglars to break in.
In 2012 the Guardian even reported that thefts in garden furniture and accessories had soared as the value of what we buy for the garden has increased, a survey by Confused.com showed that the average value of a British garden’s contents was £825, this included garden tools, lawnmowers, patio furniture and barbecues. All of these items are easy pickings for an opportunistic burglar, so lock them away!
Use a UV pen to mark any valuables so if the worse does happen it may help to make recovery easier.
Many Police Forces and Home Insurance Providers will advise marking any valuables especially those that are more mobile i.e. a laptop or tablet.
A burglary infographic from Tesco Compare showed that the top 5 most stolen items included…
Mobile Phones (6%)
Jewellery and Watches (11%)
Cameras and MP3 Players (13%)
Marking your valuables will usually deter thieves from stealing them as an item that is clearly marked will be more difficult for a thief to sell and will often reduce the items value (Devon and Cornwall police). It also helps to increase the chance of your property being identified if the worse did happen and it was either lost or stolen.
Norfolk Constabulary recommends the following ways to effectively mark your property:
Electronic marking – Use property register website Immobilise to electronically register your valuables details. This helps Police Forces across the UK to identify the owner of any lost or stolen items.
UV pen marking – Use a UV pen (invisible to the naked eye) to mark your valuables ideally write your postcode, house number or house name. Usually stickers are supplied with any UV pens which indicate that the valuables are marked; these can deter a burglar from stealing your property in the first place.
Photography – Taking detailed photos of your valuables will help to prove they are yours if they are stolen.
Permanent Marker Pen/Paint – This is recommended for marking large items such as machinery, garden equipment and tools.
Postcode Stencil – This is literally a stencil of your postcode, which is applied with paste and etches your details onto your valuables.
DNA Technology – There are several products available that use DNA technology to mark valuables. They contain microdots with unique reference numbers that are linked to your home. These are detected with a UV light and the information is then obtained from the microdots.
Inventories – Inventory all of your valuable items either by listing them, taking photographs or videos.
Lights with sensors in the garden and at the front of your property will help to deter a burglar as they are more confident when working in the dark.
As the nights draw darker, during the winter months it is really worth considering installing motion detector lights externally to your home.
Considering that the majority of burglaries take place during the night, (56% of recorded burglaries happen at night according to Tesco Compare), it is definitely a good idea to have security lights fitted to your property as these can help to deter a burglar from breaking into your home, as they are less likely to feel confident breaking into a property that is well-lit. The majority of Police Forces will advise this as an additional security measure, “consider fitting outside security lighting or a visible alarm to help deter burglars” (ThamesValley Police). ThamesValley Police also advise “using pea shingle or gravel on a driveway and spiky plants in garden beds”.
It is always a good idea to have a spy hole or door chain fitted to your front door especially in the holiday season where you are more likely to receive more visitors to your home.
When evaluating the security of your home it is important to consider that you may need additional security such as a spy hole or door chain, which will not only improve the security of your home by allowing you to keep out unwanted guests but will also add to your peace of mind. The Metropolitan Police advises that a spy hole and door chain or even a limiter should be fitted for added safety and security as “these will enable you to deal with callers to your front door whilst retaining a level of security.”
Whatever time of year it is, it’s never a good idea to leave your keys anywhere near your front door. A letterbox cage or guard can be fitted; burglars will often use the letterbox to retrieve keys stored inside the house.
When thinking about the security of your home, it is always a good idea to think like a burglar!
Look for any potential security risks that may be used to the advantage of a burglar i.e. spare keys under the mat. In a recent survey by Keytek® it was found that over 20% of Britons were still leaving spare keys hidden in an unsecure location such as under a plant pot in the garden.
Many will advise against this, including the Charity Age UK who advise on their website not to leave spare keys in “obvious places such as under a flower pot or doormat or hanging inside the letterbox”. For a relatively small cost it is advisable to have a Key Safe fitted in a hidden location on the outside of your home by a local locksmith. A Key Safe is a secure box where you can safely and securely store your keys without having to hide them or to rely on a neighbour or family member to look after them.
It is also advised that you don’t store any keys or ID documents near to a door or window that is accessible externally to minimise the risk of what is sometimes referred to as ‘fishing’. Insurance provider Aviva explains that “thieves will use props such as coat hangers and fishing rods to hook keys”. Key ‘fishing’ can be minimised not only by storing your keys away from any doors or windows but also by having a letterbox cage/guard fitted to your door by a locksmith. Letterbox brushes can be fitted to avoid a burglar seeing where your keys are stored.