Master Locksmiths Association UK, provides us with the following tips on improving the security of our homes:
1. What material is your door made of?
Lock Snapping Prevention
Most UPVC and composite doors operate with a multipoint locking system which utilises a lock cylinder. If you have a lock that may be susceptible to lock snapping, upgrade your cylinder to the highest standard available for lock cylinders.
Front & Back Door Security
You may have had a new front door or back door installed recently, however this is no guarantee that the locks will provide the necessary level of security to prevent attacks like lock snapping. Have an approved locksmith survey your property.
2. Do you have a timber door?
Does your timber door lock meet the industry standard?
External timber doors should be secured using a mortice lock and / or night latch that meets the industry standard. Most mortice locks operate via a “lever” mechanism (normally at least 5 levers), however there are some which are operated by cylinders and therefore the same vulnerabilities as mentioned above may apply.
Why you should fit a door chain
To increase security further you may want to install a door chain as well as a door viewer to enable you to see who’s outside without having to open the door. If the lock on your door is capable of being operated without a key from the inside then you should consider fitting a letter box restrictor and if there is any glazing close to the lock then consider reinforcing this glass or adding security bars to stop people trying to access the lock from the outside.
73% of burglars gain entry via a door
73% of burglars gain entry via a door, and even where they don’t they’ll be looking to exit via a door – so don’t leave your keys in the door or within sight.
3. Are your Windows Secure?
All windows – upstairs and downstairs – should ideally be fitted with at least one appropriate key operated lock.
Your insurance requirements may specify that all accessible windows have to be fitted with a locking security device.
Devices which stop a window from being fully opened – are more of a safety item rather than a security one. They’re there to stop people from falling out of windows and don’t provide the level of security required to stop somebody from using a window to gain entry.
Window Grilles and Bars
Where extra window security is required you can may want to consider fitting additional security devices such as grilles or bars. These will stop intruders gaining access even if they manage to open the window.
Reinforced Glass / Security Film
Another alternative would be to reinforce the glass in the window or apply a security film as these will help defend against direct attacks on the glass.
4. How many people have keys to your home?
Ways to protect your keys from being copied
- Do you know how many copies of the keys to your home are in existence? – for example have all previous occupiers/owners given back all their keys?
- Were any keys provided to family members or trades people?
In order to increase your security there are ways to reduce the likelihood of rogue keys being in existence.
Patented Keys – Keys can’t be copied
Patented keys are keys that can’t be copied without proof of ownership. Some patented keys systems for example come with a card that has to be presented to the locksmith in order for a key to be cut.
Restricted Keys – Keys that are difficult to copy
Restricted keys that can’t be easily copied due to their unique design, and the restriction of the availability of key blanks to this design.
If you’ve recently moved house, you should your locks, this way you can avoid any ‘spare’ sets being used.
Keyed alike – Your one key house
As well as increasing security by installing new locks your locksmith can also provide the convenience of keying your locks alike.This means that the same key can operate every lock in your property. For example one key can operate your front door, back door and possible even padlocks that you might have on your shed.
5. Do You Have a Home Alarm?
60% of burglary attempts on homes with alarms are unsuccessful. However 71% of homes still don’t have a working burglar alarm.
What different types of Home Alarms are available?
When it comes to domestic alarms then there are 2 main types:-
Audible Alert only
- Alarms simply sound when triggered.
- Rely on the noise scaring the burglar away or on neighbours to investigate why the alarm has activated.
- Alarms will not only sound but also notify people when activated.
- Some alarms will notify the home owner (by phone, text or with smartphones via an app – which can then allow you to see what’s been triggered and re-set if necessary)
- Some other will notify a monitoring centre who in turn can notify the police.
6. The Most Common Stolen Items
Computers, cash, small electrical goods and jewellery are among the most commonly stolen items in domestic burglaries as they are small and relatively easy for the common thief to sell on.
- Keep your valuables safe and out of sight – Don’t leave anything on display that may tempt a thief to break in.
- 21% of people never hide valuables – It’s interesting to note statistics that show 21% of people never hide their valuable possessions when leaving the house.
- 37% of people leave portable gadgets on show – Even more worryingly 37% of people leave portable gadget such as tablets or e-books easily accessible.
- Burglars know where to look – And don’t think that hiding stuff in the sock draw is enough! This brings us on to safes.
7. Why You Should Use a Home Safe
Keep your cash and jewellery safe
For additional peace of mind, valuable items such as cash and jewellery can be stored in a professional specified and fitted home safe.
Ensure The Safe is Professional Specified and Fitted
Look for a safe that has 3rd party accreditation to ensure they actually keep things, well, safe! Professional fitting by a qualified locksmith, is absolutely vital. If not fitted properly it’s like putting all your valuables in a goldfish bowl.
Thieves will take the whole safe with them – and spend as long as they want getting it open. The safe must be anchored to a secure object – either an external wall or a solid floor.
8. Keep Documents & Data Safe With a Fire/Data Safe
Protect yourself from identity theft
Store important documents and/or electronic data in a home safe:
- Securely bolt down the safe as this will not only keep them secure but also safe from the likes of fire etc.
- Shred confidential documents like bank statements, bills etc.. when no longer needed.
- ID related information should ideally be locked in a filing cabinet.
Remember to check your home alarm regularly