How safe is it to enter your house? Find out what steps you may take to lower the likelihood of a break-in.
Despite the fact that burglary rates have progressively decreased over the past ten years, becoming a victim may be distressing, upsetting, and often expensive to resolve. The good news is that there are a variety of ways to make your home safer, so take a look at each potential access point, including your doors and windows, to see if they can be strengthened.
How secure is your house?
In addition to opportunistic burglaries, some burglars investigate a property in advance, occasionally collaborating with other crooks. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider precautions to make sure your home always appears to be occupied and that there are no obvious hiding places where a possible thief could go to inspect the property.
Don’t make it clear that you are on vacation either. Consider setting timers for your lights or asking a friend or neighbour to check on your house from time to time. Avoid discussing your departure on any social media platforms with a public audience as you never know who may be seeing your profile. Also, think about these things: Even if they are difficult to reach, are windows and doors left open?
Are there visible locks on your windows and doors? Is there a spare key that may be found or seen easily, perhaps hidden above the door ledge or beneath a plant pot?
Do you have high fences and bushes that would help keep robbers hidden? Is it noisy for a burglar to enter your home? For instance, is the property’s perimeter covered in gravel?
Could a burglar use any of the available ladders? How safe is the garage or shed? Is it kept securely locked at all times with high-quality padlocks and locks?
How does a thief scope out a home?
To find out what really turns them off, we interviewed security professionals and ex-burglars, asking them about anything from dogs to specific alarm manufacturers.
The front of your home is where burglars start their search for security gaps. A possible intruder will search for indications that you aren’t concerned about security, such as single-cylinder or Yale locks on your doors or a lack of window locks.
Additionally, they keep an eye out for obvious errors like keys left in rear doors or window locks with the keys still inside. Ladders and other tools that have been left laying around will attract a burglar.
They will also examine the security of any sheds or outbuildings. Our poll of ex-burglars revealed that they preferred to target detached homes. Our interviewees believe that this is probably because it is so simple to get.
Terraced homes are more challenging. Numerous fences make it difficult for a burglar to make a hasty getaway out the back where there may be more people present.
They will also think about whether their access point is disregarded. One of them informed us that they would seek out tall hedges and other barriers that would shield them from their neighbours’ lines of sight.
Once a thief has decided on a particular property, they frequently scope it out. The ex-burglars we spoke to said that this will be done by more professional burglars for two or three days.
To do this, you might have to look through your trash for a name on your mail, then look online for a landline phone number and call it to see if you’re home.
They might now also look you up online or on social media. On the other hand, opportunity seekers can visit a desirable neighbourhood and enter on the same day. One of them said, “You can just knock, then if someone answers, claim you’re from an energy company.”
What deters burglars
We investigated what deters robbers in our poll. The top five were as follows: • 71% of households have a dog in the house; 71% have a burglar alarm system
• 52% of residents are present
• 46% CCTV
• Outdoor and sensor lights: 21%
There are many ways to safeguard your house. Here are our top suggestions, some of which are free or inexpensive:
an obvious burglar alarm
In order to alert potential burglars that you have a burglar alarm system, make sure the external sounder or “bell box” is prominently displayed on your home.
Consult the article on how to purchase the best burglar alarm for guidance on the sort of alarm to purchase. You may also read our reviews of completely vetted “bells-only” and intelligent security alarms.
For more information on the different types of alarms and their costs, what to avoid if you’re thinking about obtaining one, and how you can save as much as £400 on your burglar alarm cost, visit our article on Burglar alarm and installation costs. If installing a full alarm system is out of your price range, you may alternatively buy a fake burglar alarm box for about £15 to £20.
Use the strongest screws you can, not necessarily the ones provided, and make sure they are all in compliance with British Standard BS7950 when installing a lock on a window or door.
Installing locks after UPVC and PVCU doors or windows have already been installed could weaken or void their warranties. It is safer to have adequate locks installed at the time of building.
Any trader who uses our mark has passed our stringent inspections. Additionally, heed the following guidance: Make sure the doors and door frames are sturdy. Your outside doors should have 10 cm hinges and a minimum thickness of 4.4 cm.
Ideal door installation calls for a five-lever mortise deadlock that has passed BS 3621 testing. Steel strips that are attached to the frame and wrapped around the lock can strengthen wooden doors.
Doors with glass panels are less secure, although laminated glass or plastic glazing film can be installed for added security. Purchase door sets (the door, frame, and locks) that are Pas 24 approved if you are buying new doors.
Install a viewer and a chain or latch on the door so you can check who is there before letting them in. Letter boxes should be installed 40 cm from the door lock, out of sight of valuables and keys, and with an internal cover plate for further security.
In no case should windows in the house be left unlocked or open. Double glazing should ideally be installed in easily accessible windows.
Consider using laminated glass or plastic glazing film for easily accessible windows since they are more durable than regular glass. New windows should adhere to PAS 24 or British Standard 7950.
Instead of locks that only secure the handle, choose ones that secure the window to the frame.
Outdoor lights are a good way to make sure a burglar is more apparent, which can help deter them, whether they are manually switched on or activated by movement.
Typically, the price of a single bulb ranges from £8 to $100. However, if your home is next to a road, be sure to point these downward to avoid annoying your neighbours and to make sure they won’t light into other drivers’ eyes.
The main goal of indoor lighting is to provide the impression that someone is home even when nobody is. Costing as little as £5, timers can be used to switch on and off lights throughout the house as well as TVs and/or radios. Just be sure that they are coordinated across your house, for example, by turning off the light five minutes after the television.
Wireless home security cameras and CCTV
An additional security precaution to deter robbers may be CCTV or wireless security cameras (either inside or outdoors). We evaluated a broad selection of wireless security cameras, including outdoor ones to guard a driveway or rear entry and indoor cameras to notify you if somebody breaks in.
Visit our wireless security camera reviews to see all of the types we’ve put to the test, or read our guide to learn more about home CCTV.
A smart doorbell is another item to think about because it can serve as a digital guard for your front door, keeping an eye out for suspicious characters while also informing you when real guests arrive. View fully tested models in our reviews of smart doorbells.
Protect your garden from thieves.
Gravel around your property acts as a strong deterrent since it makes it more difficult for intruders to approach without being seen. To prevent your property from being obscured from view, make sure hedges are cut down.
Plant thorny plants along the edges of your property as defensive gardening to prevent robbers from hiding there.
Install sturdy gates or fences, ideally 2 metres high with 30-45 cm of open-ended trellising at the top, to any area of your garden that is accessible from the outside. If they jump the fence and break this, it will be heard.
Don’t keep the packaging of newly purchased precious items out with your recycling for a lengthy period of time because it may reveal information about the value of your possessions.
Use padlocks on shed doors and think about adding a little, battery-operated alarm, which can be installed for as low as £15.
Carbon dioxide and smoke detectors
Consider adding a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide monitor in addition to the security measures mentioned above to safeguard yourself from further risks.
These can be purchased separately or in a set with some burglar alarms.
It’s important to keep in mind that while you want to make your home as secure as you can, you must make sure that doing so won’t prevent you from escaping or being rescued in an emergency situation, such as a fire.
Other factors to think about
Maintain complete anonymity with all of your personal information because identity theft is a booming industry. Never leave letters or bills laying around that include a lot of personal information. Additionally, try to keep crucial papers, such passports, hidden as much as you can.
Be sure to consider your online presence, especially any social media accounts, in addition to the information in your house. Avoid making it simple for thieves to take your data.
Home security and insurance
Before they will issue you insurance, the majority of insurers require a minimum level of security, such as deadlocks on some or all external doors.
These locks must typically meet a minimal standard, typically BS3621, and are five-lever mortise locks. Although some insurers do not demand locks on all of your accessible windows, you will likely discover that your insurance anticipates you to have them installed.
Therefore, installing locks on all of your basement and ground-floor windows as well as any that could be accessed by climbing a drainpipe or wall will improve the likelihood that you’ll be covered by more insurance providers.