Home Security and Safety Tips

How to Secure Your Home – Best Burglar-Proof Practices For Homeowners

Burglary is a nightmare scenario for every householder and it’s reasonable to be concerned. In the UK, a burglary takes place every 106 seconds and items to the value of £181 million are stolen from homes in London alone every year.

The average cost for a homeowner after a burglary is over £3000, with over a third of the cost relating to the expense of repairing damage to the property and time lost from work while dealing with the incident. On top of all the practical issues, the emotional costs of experiencing a home invasion are incalculable.

It’s always important to secure your home, but some types of housing are more vulnerable than others. Three-bed semi-detached homes are at the highest risk of being burgled and ground-floor flats are twice as likely to be raided than those on upper floors.

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Some people are more likely to be burgled, too. Anyone can benefit from the current home security tips for the UK, but it’s especially important if:

  • You live alone and are worried about a burglary occurring while you’re at work;
  • You are afraid for your security at night;
  • You are an older or vulnerable person who lives alone;
  • You live in a high crime or urban area;
  • You travel frequently or own a vacation home;
  • You are a single parent household;
  • You have limited financial resources and need to find budget-friendly ways of securing your home.

In this post, we’ll be looking at some essential home security ideas to keep your property safe inside and out.

How to burglar-proof your front door

Security advice can seem very complex at times, so let’s start with the basics. When you’re planning home protection in the UK, it doesn’t get much more basic than having a burglar-proof front door.

  • High-quality British standard 3621 door locks are essential – Many insurance companies specify that, as a minimum, a BS3621 five-lever mortice lock must be fitted to all external doors. It’s easy to tell if you have a lock that meets this standard – just look for the kitemark, which will be engraved or stamped on the lock.
  • Flats or properties with only one exit require a slightly different lock, one that meets British standard 8621 – Like the BS3621, these are tested against standard burglary techniques, such as drilling. Unlike a BS3621 lock, a BS8621 can be opened from the inside without a key. In terms of fire safety, the importance of being able to exit the property without a key can’t be overstated.
  • Use anti-snap locks – If you have doors secured by Euro cylinder locks, it’s important that they meet certain standards. We’ll talk more about this below, or you can check our blog post on lock snapping and how to prevent it.
  • Use Secured by Design door furniture – Secured by Design is a UK police initiative promoting products that help reduce crime. Products with Secured by Design accreditation have gone through a vigorous series of tests that show they meet high standards.
  • Install a nightlatch – Nightlatches are suitable for inward opening timber doors and are best used in conjunction with another lock, such as a deadlock or Euro cylinder. If you’re installing a new nightlatch, make sure it conforms to British standards.
  • Install letterbox protection – Letterboxes should be fitted at least 40cm from the door lock, and valuables and keys shouldn’t be within sight of it; an internal cover plate offers extra protection.
  • Upgrade your strike plate – This is the metal rectangle on the inside of the door into which the deadbolt or door latch is inserted. If the strike place is loose or worn, it needs replacing.
  • Make sure the hinges of entry doors are on the inside of the house – If they’re not, a burglar can ignore the lock and simply pop the hinges to gain entry.
  • Ensure the door frames and doors are solid – External doors should be at least 4.4cm thick, hung with 10cm hinges and fit securely in their frames.
  • Use a key safe to store spare keys for your home, rather than hiding them around the front door – The lock could meet all standards possible, but if an intruder manages to get hold of a key, it offers no protection at all. See our guide to buying and using a key safe.

Learn what security solutions we offer by visiting our main website.

How to secure your uPVC door

uPVC doors are often less secure than timber or metal doors. This is how to secure your home if you have a uPVC front, back, or garden door.

  • Make sure you have an anti-snap lock – Euro cylinder locks must meet one of two standards. These are SS312 Diamond and TS007 3 Star. You’ll find the standards stamped on the lock below the keyhole.
  • Check your door handle – A high-security handle makes a great extra line of security. Look for a handle that conforms to security standards, such as TS007 2 Star, or is marked as Police Approved. If the handle is floppy, you should fix it as soon as possible.
  • Sash jammers – Professionally installed sash jammers prevent the door from opening if the lock is broken. They’re available in both locking and non-locking versions.
  • Fit hinge bolts – These are also known as dog bolts. They can be fitted to any outward opening door and improve security by preventing a closed door from being forced off its hinges.
  • Install a door chain – A door chain adds an extra layer of security, slowing an intruder down. It also allows you to check who is at the door before deciding if you want to open it. Choose a chain with Secured by Design accreditation
  • Fit patlocks to french or patio doors – Patlocks hold handles in a secure locked position if the locks are snapped. Since they’re easily visible, they act as a deterrent to anyone sizing up your security. They’re considered to be a superior security measure for doors which are otherwise vulnerable.
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Install front door security devices for extra protection

Some house security tips are devised with specific situations in mind. Extra security devices for front doors can be especially valuable to elderly people who are rightly cautious about opening the door to strangers and can guard against burglars who pretend to be ‘just passing’.

  • Video doorbells – A digital doorviewer allows you to see who is at the door without opening it. Add a video/audio intercom and you can talk to the person on the other side of the door from the comfort of your armchair. And if you don’t like what they have to say, you don’t have to let them in.
  • Smart locks – If you’ve ever returned home just to check if you locked the front door, this is for you. A smart lock can be operated remotely through an app on your phone.
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Increase your window security

  • Reinforce windows with safety glass or bars – Traditional glass is too easy to break, so any window that is large enough to climb through really does need safety glass or bars. It’s perfectly possible to have bars on a window without making your home look like a prison, as many modern bars are designed to be attractive as well as functional.
  • Keep your doors and windows closed and locked, even when you’re indoors – A portion of burglaries do take place while someone is at home, so don’t assume that your presence in your home makes it safe from a break-in.
  • Double-check doors and windows before you leave home – It’s easy to overlook a rarely used door or a window in a room you don’t go into often.
  • Add door and window alarms – An audible signal that someone is trying to enter your property alerts you as well as your neighbours. The sound of an alarm is often enough to scare off any would-be home invader.

Leaving windows open at night creates security risks for your property

An open window can be an open invitation. If the thought of sleeping without ventilation is too much for you, install window restrictors or sash stops, which will prevent the window from opening enough to allow entry.

Boarding up your windows

This is sometimes thought of as a measure against storm damage, but there are a couple of security-related reasons why you might want to board a window.

  1. It’s a good way to protect a property that’s not currently in use;
  2. Boarding a window is the quickest way of securing a property after a break-in. 

Not sure how to do it? Check out our blog post on boarding up a window.

Installing a burglar alarm

We’re moving up the scale in terms of security ideas for your home. Seven out of ten UK homes don’t have a burglar alarm. Some people try to save money by installing a fake alarm. Of course, the cost of a burglary will far outweigh the cost of the alarm. Some systems are simple, some are more complex, and some can be checked by your phone or monitored by the police or the security company of your choice. Find out more about your options for burglar alarms by reading a couple of blog posts about how to reset a house alarm and things to consider before buying a home security system.

CCTV system installation is among the most effective burglar deterrents

In the early days of CCTV, the use of fake cameras was common. There’s no reason to adopt this approach any longer. CCTV is an affordable and reliable form of security which acts as a visible deterrent and can produce evidence in cases where a burglar is rash or unobservant enough to ignore it. If you do opt for CCTV, correct positioning is essential and you’ll need to decide if you want a wired or wireless system.

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Install outdoor motion sensor lights

Motion sensitive lights come on if there’s movement near your house. They serve three purposes. Firstly, lights that come on as you approach the door make it easy for you to find your keys and check that the area around you is clear of strangers. Secondly, if you’re indoors, lights coming on will serve to let you know that someone is near. Lastly, and most importantly, lights that come on as the house is approached will deter a would-be burglar who was expecting to be able to hide in the shadows. It’s important that sensors are correctly placed to maximise coverage so installing them is a job you might like to leave to security professionals.

Light timers – keep your home “occupied” when you are not there

If you spend longer periods of time away from your home, especially overnight, timed lights are a great idea. A few outdoor lights that come on in the evening will create the impression that you’re at home. Indoor lights in a downstairs room in the evening, followed by bedroom lights that switch on for a short time, will create an even stronger illusion that your house is occupied.

Garden shed alarms keep the burglars tool-less

Most would-be felons prefer not to walk down the street armed with a crowbar. It’s too easily noticed and too hard to explain. The first places they’ll look for tools to help them break into your home are your garden shed and garage. Denying burglars access to tools and ladders is an important piece of home security advice. If you use a padlock to secure your shed, make sure it’s ‘Solid Secure’ approved. As with your home, it’s better to use a couple of layers of security and make sure that windows, as well as doors, are locked and alarmed. Once your garage or shed is secure, use it to store expensive garden tools, barbecue grills, bikes, and, of course, your car.

Eliminate garden hiding places

Overgrown shrubs or large trees that obscure the view between your house and the road create hiding places for burglars. Landscape for security, keep shrubs around doorways and walkways pruned so that anyone approaching the house is visible. Be especially careful about large trees with strong branches close to upper storey windows. Burglars have been knowing to climb trees to gain access.

Secure your valuables in a home safe

Household security doesn’t end with measures to keep intruders out. If someone does enter your home, you want to limit the damage they can do. Keeping valuables in unlocked cupboards is a very bad idea and a safe is much more secure than a shoebox! Along with easily liftable valuables like cash, credit cards, watches, or jewellery, burglars also look for bills or other documents that include your address or personal details. These can be used to clone your identity and even take out loans in your name. If you do invest in a safe, make sure it’s securely attached to walls or floors. A small safe that can be lifted just serves as a takeaway bonus for a criminal. Find out more about where and how to store sensitive documents by reading our article on where to store house deeds safely.

Let the experts improve your home security

If you want to make sure that your house is safe from burglars, the best solution is to call a professional. Here at Fantastic Services, we value our customers’ desires. Whether you want to install a CCTV, install or replace a lock, or even fix a broken door – we’ve got you covered. Don’t leave your house unsecured, book your locksmith service today!

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  • When deciding which home security devices or methods to invest in, start with the basics. Invest in decent locks for your doors and windows and use them always. That means locking the door even if you’re just popping to the shops.
  • If you have an alarm, change the code frequently. Make sure that burglars can’t access sheds or garages on your plot where you store expensive items and tools which they can use to gain access to your home.
  • Keeping valuables in a locked safe is a much better option than leaving them loose in the house. Finally, if you have concerns about your security, seek professional advice. Your local police or professional locksmith may offer a security survey.

Image source: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov

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