How to secure your home

secure your home

As a householder, you will have considered how to secure your home from break-ins, as everyone wants to reduce the risks of a burglary.

Theft offences – including domestic burglaries – decreased by 19% between March 2020 and June 2022, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales.

While this shows people are taking steps to protect their homes, there’s no room for complacency, as there were still 2.7 million crimes in the year ending June 2022.

Read on to find out how you can protect your home from the threat of burglary.

How effective is your home security?

There are two main types of burglaries: opportunist burglars who strike without any pre-planning, compared with criminals who stake out a property beforehand and weigh up their options.

As well as aiming to make sure your home looks occupied at all times, also check on your physical security devices to see where a potential burglar might gain access.

If you’re going away on holiday, consider using lights with timers that come on at dusk. Ask a friend or neighbour to pop round to check everything is okay while you’re gone. Don’t mention to anyone publicly that you’ll be away, including on “public” social media settings.

In practical terms, make sure you don’t leave windows open, even if you don’t think they are easily accessible. If your windows and doors have visible locks, never leave a spare key in an obvious place, such as under a door mat or plant pot in your garden.

According to research by insurance provider Aviva, 9% of UK householders still leave their door key under a plant pot when they’re away on holiday, giving burglars an open invitation to break in.

Check that you haven’t left any ladders accessible outside your property that could help an intruder access an upstairs window.

Make sure your property – including your garden shed and garage – is always kept locked with high-quality security locks and padlocks.

How does a burglar assess a house?

A burglar will look for any weaknesses in your security system. If you have only a Yale or single-cylinder lock on your door, or don’t have window locks, you may be considered a target.

Obvious mistakes, such as a key left in the back door, or a window lock with the key visible on the interior window ledge, are also open invitations.

Burglars also tend to check whether their access route is overlooked by neighbours or passers-by. While you may think your high hedge is a deterrent, it could actually provide a screen to protect a would-be burglar from being seen.

What will deter burglars?

Having an obvious burglar alarm system or a dog in the home are the top two deterrents for burglars. Seeing there is someone at home, having CCTV and installing outdoor sensor lights also put intruders off.

Door security is another strong deterrent. When you have a lock fitted to a window or door, it pays to contact a professional locksmith, who will use the strongest screws available, making sure they are British Standard BS7950 compliant.

Having sturdy locks fitted at the time of construction is safer, but if you’re not happy with your door and window locks, you can always change locks and have better ones retro-fitted.

If you wish to change the locks on your current doors and windows, find a highly-rated local locksmith and have them do the job properly.

Make sure your doors and door frames are solid: external doors should be a minimum of 4.4 cm thick and should have 10 cm hinges. The best security locks are the five-lever mortice deadlock compliant with British Standard BS 3621.

Home insurance

Having effective home security could also mean a cheaper price for home insurance. In fact, many insurers will insist on the property having a minimum level of security, such as deadlocks on external doors.

Some insurers expect you to have locks on all windows too. Adding locks to your basement and ground-floor windows – and any upstairs windows that might be accessible through climbing a wall or drainpipe – will increase your chances of getting home insurance at a fair price.

Don’t be beaten by burglars – but if the worst-case scenario does happen and someone tries to break in, contact a 24-hour locksmith to have your property secured again as soon as possible.