Information about protecting your house and security.
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Having your home broken into is not common. There are however many ways that you can help secure your home. They don’t all cost money – some are common sense and good housekeeping.
First, think about basic good housekeeping routines that aren’t expensive:
- Keep your home locked at all times
- Many thieves do not need to break in at all because a door or window has been left open or unlocked
- Don’t leave keys on the inside of door locks, under mats or anywhere else they can be easily found
- If you have a ‘thumb turn’ lock on the inside of a door, ensure that it cannot be accessed from outside
- See details on letter-plates, glazing and adjacent windows advice below
- Don't put your name or room number on your keyring if you live in shared accommodation, if it is lost or stolen, the thief will have information that could direct them there
- Don’t keep house keys and car keys on the same key ring
- Don't keep a lot of cash in the house
- Mark your property with a UV marker pen or Security DNA marking Kit - these can be bought online or in some stores
- Look for the Secured By Design accreditation on the product and register - you can place an invisible imprint of your postcode and house number on your possessions
- You can record and register details of your valuables, serial numbers and features or marks, on devices on the national mobile property register on the immobilise website - this includes mobile phones, cameras, laptops and tablets
- Don’t leave valuables where they can be seen through a window - for example, around the tree at Christmas time
- If you have a wall calendar, avoid having it shown near a window from where appointments can be seen - people may see when there will be no one in.
PC Stevie McGill from Edinburgh shows you how you can secure your home.
You can improve home security by making simple changes. The front doors is where people enter and leave but the the back door is just as important.
Windows are often used by thieves to enter or leave. Properties with windows left open or unsecured are an easy target. Windows should not be left open for ventilation on the ‘opening restrictor’, they should be left in the ‘locked ventilation’ position.
All single glazed windows can be vulnerable to attack, as plain glass is easily breakable. Consider adding laminated glass (two pieces of glass bonded together with a sheet of laminate). This is far more difficult to break through. It will not shatter and will delay any forced entries. Deal with a reputable glazier and ask for laminated glass to P1A standard.
Locking systems in double glazed windows should be fitted. A general rule to follow is that the handle should not be the only means of keeping the window closed.
The locking system should be fitted and the handle used to engage the internal locking system.
Some other tips include:
- Doors should be fitted with a 5 lever mortice deadlock to BS 3621 standard or a Euro Profile Cylinder lock to TS007 3 star standard
- Door frames should be strong enough to support the door, hinges and lock.
- If the door is not a ‘multi – point locking’ door, fit mortice bolts at the top and bottom of the door and hinge-bolts give additional resistance
- External timber doors should be solid core and a minimum of 45 mm thick.
- UPVC doors should be to PAS024:2016 standard as below
- New / replacement doors should be manufactured and installed to meet standards PAS 024:2016 or equivalent
- Glazed panels within or adjacent to the door should have laminated glass in at least the inner pane to standards P1A
- Letterboxes should have an internal cover plate and not be at floor level. This means that mail drops down and can't be taken from outside
- If you are replacing your letter-plate, look to replace it with a letter-plate to TS008 standard
- Fit a door viewer and a door chain
- Don’t leave keys in the door. They could be turned or stolen through the letter-plate if a standard letter plate is fitted
- Think about having your door reinforced with a security door bar
- Ask the manufacturer/supplier before fitting any extra locks to double glazed windows or doors
- Windows should have internal beading to avoid the glass being removed from the outside. Some systems which have external beading are secure because the glass is adhered to the frame or secured by special tamper-proof clips. This can be checked by consulting the manufacturer
- New / replacement windows should be manufactured and installed to PAS024:2016 or equivalent. This indicates set specific standards of design and security for windows.
Your property can be more vulnerable whilst you’re carrying out home improvements.
- Don't give keys to workers as they can make copies quickly and easily
- Let your neighbours know about work being carried out, where workers are likely to be and who they are
- Scaffolding may allow an intruder access to areas they wouldn’t normally be able to access
- Remember to lock all accessible windows.
When you go on holiday there are a few steps you should take for security.
- Get to know your neighbours, if you trust them they might keep an eye on your home, draw curtains and remove mail from behind the door
- Consider using Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service, they will keep your mail for up to 66 days
- Make sure you cancel any regular deliveries such as milk or newspapers
- Use timers on lights, make sure your alarm is set
- Don’t post on social media that you’re going on holiday - criminals can search for this kind of information to identify empty houses.
If you’re selling your home, don't show people around on your own. Ask your estate agent to send a representative to accompany anyone who wants to view the house.
Thieves can use opportunities like this to steal your possessions.
Never allow anyone into your home that has approached you directly from the street having seen your ‘For Sale’ sign. Tell them to go through the agent.
When you move to a new property change the locks. You don't know who has access to keys.
Neighbourhood Watch operates in many local communities. Find out if a group exists in your area or how to set a group up by speaking to your local community policing team by dialling 101.
For general crime prevention advice and tips, speak to your local Crime Reduction Officer / Designing Out Crime Officer or community policing team by dialling 101.
For more in-depth advice about building crime prevention into your home, get more information about what our Architectural Liaison services by contacting us.
If you see signs of a break-in at your home, like a smashed window or an open door, then do not enter, the intruder may still be inside. Instead, go to a neighbour and call the police on 101. If you think the intruder is still there call 999.