Ensure your property is secure
Have you looked at your property with security in mind? Are there ways to help prevent burglary in your home? Find out more about securing doors and windows and advice on what lights and alarms to install.
Most burglaries are committed by opportunist thieves. In one-quarter of all burglaries committed, burglars do not have to use force – they gain entry through an open door or window.
Take simple precautions such as locking windows and doors when you go out, even if just stepping next door or out in the garden. Also, use a light timer and do not leave your keys lying around.
Look at your property through a burglar’s eyes to identify places where you can add deterrents and improve security.
Doors and windows
Secure all doors and windows – if they are not secure, neither is your property.
- Make sure the doors and frames are strong and are in good condition.
- Fit back and front doors with a five-lever mortice deadlock – and use it.
- Glass panels on or around the door are especially vulnerable, so replace them with laminated glass.
- Fit a letterbox cage to stop someone reaching inside to open your night latch lock.
- Check that the door hinges are sturdy and secured with strong long screws. Consider using inexpensive hinge bolts which help to reinforce the hinge side of a door against the use of force.
Patio doors and windows are often targeted by thieves, because in the past they have been easy to open.
It can be useful to get specialist advice when fitting a patio door, with security in mind.
- Patio doors should have special locks fitted top and bottom unless they already have a multi-locking system.
- Patio windows which are made of aluminium are often the weakest type. Modern UPVC should come with multi-point locking systems as standard.
- Fit key-operated window locks to all downstairs windows and easily accessible upstairs windows. For example those above a flat roof or by a drainpipe.
- Even small windows such as skylights or bathroom fanlights need locks – a thief can get through any gap larger than the human head.
- Remember to remove keys from locked windows and to keep them out of sight in a safe place.
- If you are replacing windows – consider laminated glass. This glass has a layer of vinyl between two sheets of glass making it difficult to break.
- As a last resort, consider fitting security grilles to vulnerable windows – many DIY shops now sell decorative wrought iron grilles.
Intruder alarms are an effective deterrent against burglars. They provide a useful warning and limit the risk of theft and damage to your property. Surveys have consistently shown that properties are less likely to be burgled if an alarm is fitted.
Cold callers and telesales
When investing in Security Systems for your home or business, it is not advisable to deal with cold callers or telesales enquiries – you should avoid doing doorstep or telephone business.
Many traders who call at your door are honest and genuine, however, some are not and can be extremely persuasive.
Examples of bad practices associated with cold calling and doorstep selling include:
- pressure selling
- waiving your rights to a cooling off period
- unclear contracts
- overpriced security systems
- unduly raising the fear of crime
Security System Companies
To obtain information on companies who supply and install security systems such as Intruder Alarms, Hold-Up Alarms, CCTV systems etc within your locality, we advise you contact the following Independent Inspectorate Bodies:
NSI (National Security Inspectorate)
5 Reform Road
Berkshire, SL6 8BY
Tel: 01628 637512
Fax: 01628 773367
SSAIB (Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board)
7-11 Earsdon Road
Tyne and Wear, NE25 9SX
Tel: 0191 296 3242
Fax: 0191 296 2667
If you are planning to invest in the type of security system that would receive police response to its alarm activations, then only security companies ‘Approved’ by an Independent Inspectorate Body and who are listed with Avon and Somerset Constabulary are permitted to offer this service.
For further information, contact the Alarm Administration Team by:
You should fit a security bulk-head light to the outside of your property at the front and back. These lights should also use low-energy light bulbs and have dusk-to-dawn sensors so that they are on during the hours of darkness.
Floodlights fitted with infra-red movement sensors can also be used as ‘courtesy lights’ for genuine visitors to your property.
Use time switches to turn on lights, radios and other appliances when you are out. This will help to give the impression that the property is occupied when there is no one around.
Remember to keep vehicle and house keys out of view in your property. A significant amount of vehicle crime is committed when car keys are stolen during burglaries.
- Keep keys in a locked cupboard or cabinet or, at night, take them to bed with you. Making keys safe stops an opportunist burglar having instant access to a car during a break-in.
- Never leave a spare key in a convenient hiding place such as under a door mat or in a flower pot – a thief will look there first.
- Ask a friend or trusted neighbour to hold keys for you instead. They may also be prepared to look after your home while you are away on holiday, Offer to do the same for them. This also helps you to get to know your neighbours, improving your security.
- If you have moved into a new house, consider changing the back and front door locks – other people may have keys which fit.
For more information, read our securing your property advice leaflet (PDF).