Sadly, there is a need to create a post listing the 10 Top Security Tips for your Home. If you follow these top tips, then you are securing your property to the best of your ability. The tips are designed to be cost effective. If you have a competent level of DIY skill, then you can implement these top tips yourself.
During 2018, I had to attend over 50 crime scenes and secure properties that were burgled. I have analysed what I have seen and have thought of some ways you can protect your home.
If you want to know how safe your local area is then, please click here, (Police Website). Then enter your postcode in the find your neighbourhood tab. This will then list all of the crimes that have been reported in your area.
Tip 1 – British Standard Locks
Upvc and Metal Doors.
For those with uPVC or a metal door, a multi-locking point system is a requirement for you to comply with your home contents insurance. If you lift your door handle and some hooks or deadbolts protrudes from the inside of the door, then you have a multi-locking point system.
However, the multi-locking point is only as strong as its weakest point. The weakest point is the euro cylinder (the part you stick the key into). Most euro cylinders are a cheap, nasty afterthought by most Upvc/metal door installers. They are easy to snap or pick, thus making your property easier to break into. So my tip number 1 is to fit a British Standard 3 star Euro Cylinder.
For Wooden Doors
The majority of wooden doors have different locks to uPVC and metal doors. Wooden doors usually have two locks, one at waist height and one at shoulder height.
The lock at waist height will be a mortice lock. This lock needs to be a British Standard 5 Lever Dead or Sash Lock dated 2007. To see what you have, you need to look at the faceplate. The faceplate is located where the deadbolt comes out of the lock. On the faceplate, there will be some marks. It will have the manufacturers name, the number of levers and hopefully a British Kite Mark dated 2007. Please see the picture below this paragraph. To comply with your home content insurance policy, then you must have a British Standard 5 Lever Mortice Lock fitted.
The second lock that is usually fitted to a wooden door is a night latch. This can typically be found at shoulder height. If you live in an area with a high crime rate, you might need to fit a British Standard Night Latch. This will protect you against all of the standard methods of entry used by a burglar. Techniques such as slipping, picking, drilling and door spreading using a crowbar.
Bonus Security Tip.
As an aside, it is worth fitting a door viewer to your wooden door. This will allow you to see who is at your front door without having to open it. The door viewer pictured below will give you 120-degree viewing arc from the inside of your property.
Tip 2 – Fit a door chain
Door Chain Video
The door chain is probably the cheapest addition to your home security. It can be fitted to uPVC, wooden and aluminium doors. Even if a burglar manages to defeat your lock, they will not know about the door chain until they have tried to open the door. This will frustrate and annoy them. Then hopefully, discourage them from going any further due to the additional noise they’ll make in trying to undo the door chain.
The door chain is great for anyone and everyone but mainly for the elderly or vulnerable. The door chain allows you to open the door by 5-6 inches. This will give you enough room to receive a form of identification from the visitor, without having to open the door fully.
The door chain is easy to fit yourself. There are six screws, so as long as you can use a drill, then you are good to go.
High-Security Door Chain.
Chain Reaction DNA (door chain) is highly recommended for anyone that has or is suffering from domestic abuse. It is also recommended for anyone living in a high crime rate area. The video below explains all.
Tip 3 – Lock your Windows
The most common method used to lock a uPVC window is via the handle. By looking at the picture below, you can see there is a key way in the centre of the handle. This is used to lock the handle and therefore the window. Once again this is a requirement by all insurance companies.
Replacing a uPVC handle.
If you have a uPVC handle and you have lost the key or it a nonlocking handle, then do not worry. The handles are easy to replace. The picture below is a lockable replacement uPVC window handle that has cropable screws and different length spindles.
To remove your old handles, you will need to lift the handle to expose one of the screws, which you need to undo. The second screw is located behind a thin plastic cover. Please see the pen tip in the picture below. Once both the screws are undone, the handle will come off.
For wooden windows you will have three options:
Option 1 – Wooden Window Bolts.
Is to fit a set of wooden window bolt. They fit into the window section (side) and the bolt shoots’ into the window frame. This is a very secure option, as the burglar cannot see where the bolts are located from the outside. Click here to see a set of window bolts.
Option 2 – Surface Mounted Window Bolts.
The surface mounted window bolts fit onto the window section and shoots’ into the frame. This option is easy to fit be looks dreadful. Click here to see a set of surface mounted window bolts.
Option 3 – Locks for Sash Windows
This option puts a bolt through the top and bottom part of the sash window. When the window is closed, and the window top and bottom pieces meet in the middle, it allows you to bolt them together. Click here to see a wooden window stop.
Tip 4 – Stop Leaving your Keys in the Lock.
There are two good reasons why you should stop leaving your keys in the lock. Firstly, you can lock yourself out of your property. This only applies to uPVC doors with a split spindle. This means that the outside handle does not open the door unless you have a key.
Secondly, burglars are very efficient at hooking keys out of the lock via the letterbox. If you need to keep your keys in the lock, so that you can have a quick escape in case of an emergency, then please do either of the following. Fit a thumb turn euro cylinder.
Thumb Turn Euro Cylinder
The thumb turn pictured above is an ABS Quantum Thumb Turn.
I have these fitted on all of my doors, as they are great for an emergency and for locking the door in the evening.
If you do not like the idea of a thumb turn, then you can fit a letterbox restrictor. This will still allow letters to fit through but nothing more substantial.
Or block the letterbox up and install an outside dropbox, like the one pictured below.
Tip 5 – Stop Leaving Keys near the Door.
My fifth tip follows on from my fourth for similar reasons. Please stop leaving your keys near the front door and in clear view of outsiders. There are two reasons for this:
Reason number 1.
House keys usually have car keys attached to them. Criminals know this and are now scanning key fobs from the door and cloning a key fob and driving your car away. This is a very scary and silent theft.
Reason number 2.
Also, keys left on a tableside or the window ledge near the door can be easily fish hooked through the letterbox.
Tip 6 – Intruder Alarm and CCTV.
If you live in an area with a high crime rate or in an isolated area, then it is worth having an intruder alarm fitted. Your budget will dictate what system you can have. If you have a limited budget then the Yale Smart Alarm maybe an option.
If you have a bigger budget, then the Texecom Alarm system is highly recommended.
Either way, you need to have the system connected to your internet. This will allow you to monitor the system from your smartphone, via a dedicated App.
CLOSED CIRCUIT TELEVISION (CCTV)
Just like the intruder alarms, there are budget DIY CCTV, and there are more expensive systems.
The Downside to DIY CCTV
The major issue with budget DIY CCTV is the quality of the imagery. DIY CCTV produces low-quality pictures that can not be used as evidence in court. So, the budget option is more of a deterrent than anything else.
The picture below is a perfect example of a low-quality image that could not be used in court.
High Definition 4K CCTV
The picture below is an excellent example of high definition CCTV, producing a quality image. The quality of the image is so good that it can be used as evidence in court.
The picture was provided by Ahmet Deveci from CCTV Aware. No matter where you are in the country, please have a look at their website if you are interested in having CCTV installed professionally. They are very honest and upfront about their prices. You can also book an installation date online to suit your diary. I do not know of any other company that does this.
Tip 7 – Key Safe.
The seventh tip is to use a key safe, placed in a location that is out of sight to the general public. The location must be on a need to know basis. In the key safe, it is worth having a spare front and back door key. So that if you lose your keys or snap a key in the lock then at least you will have access to your property via another door.
Please remember, do not leave a key in the lock on the inside.
The exception to the rule above is when you have an individual that needs a carer. The location of the key safe should be by the front or back door. Why? Most carers work for an agency, and so they need to be able to find the key safe easily. This is because the carer might change daily.
Tip 8 – Home Security Safe.
The eighth tip is for those that have high valuable jewellery, whether it be financial or sentimental, £1000 and above in cash. You need to have an insurance improved safe that is correctly fitted either to the floor or an external wall.
If you are applying for a firearms licence, then you will need to have a gun safe or gun cabinet fitted before your Police inspection.
The safe pictured above is a Dudley safe, one of the last British safe manufacturers. These are the best safes on the market and still produce parts for safes they made 30 years ago.
Tip 9 Moved House – Change the Locks.
If you have recently moved into a new property, then you must change the locks. Here are the reasons why:
When you are given the keys to your new property, you can not be sure as to who else has a key. The previous owners may have used a cleaning company, dog walking company or any number of tradesman. Unless it is a restricted key, then they could have made a copy without the previous owners’ knowledge. So, please change your locks.
The current locks on the door may be out of date and will therefore not meet your home content insurance policy requirements.
Old locks have old keys which are more likely to snap in the lock, resulting in you being locked out. Also, older locks tend not to have their original keys. Key cutting from copy keys is not accurate enough and will eventually not work.
One of the many advantages of a British Standard 3 Star Lock (Euro Cylinders only), is the key cutting accuracy. The locks will come with a key code so that they can be cut by a laser cutting machine.
Tip 10 – Outside Storage, Spare Keys and Garage Security.
Security Tip 10 is three mini security tip for your property.
If you need to store valuable item outside, then please store them in a secure unit. A traditional garden shed is not safe.
The locks on a garden shed are generally substandard and are easy to force open. Garden sheds are made from thin cheap wood, which is easy to damage.
The garden shed doors are usually hinged on the outside, which you can unscrew allowing you to bypass the lock.
How to Improve your Garden Shed Security.
However, if for whatever reason you need to use a garden shed, then please do the following:
Install a Van Lock.
For the garden shed door, you can install a lock which you would typically see on a van. Please see the picture below.
The picture above is a van lock securing a set of double leaf gates. For the garden shed, the bolts would be on the inside. The silver disc in the middle is a padlock. This is an excellent way of securing your garden shed door.
Garden Shed Hinge Security.
For the hinges, remove the screws and replace them with security bolts. This will stop a criminal from undoing the screws and bypassing the lock. Like the one pictured below.
Outside Storage Recommendation.
If your budget allows I can wholeheartedly recommend using a secure metal storage unit made by a company called Asgard. I have a bike storage unit which I purchased in 2010. I have moved house three times (deconstructed and rebuilt three times) and it easy to construct and it is secure.
Where are you currently keeping your spare keys? Are they in a draw in the kitchen? Or are they on a hook in the hallway? Or don’t you know?
Spare key recommendation.
For your sanity and for security reasons I recommend that you put all your spare keys in a secure box. Then secure the key safe to a wall or inside a cupboard that is out of sight. The secure box pictured below is a cash box that has an electronic lock fitted. It is installed in a cabinet at shoulder height making it difficult to attack.
The picture above was my neighbours’ garage door. There were no additional security measures in place to stop this from happening. There are three additionals garage security improvements you can install.
Garage Security Improvement 1
If you have a euro cylinder fitted to your garage door, then this must be a British Standard 3 Star Euro Cylinder. This will stop thieves attacking the locking mechanism.
Garage Security Improvement 2
Fit a Garage Defender. Garage Defenders are very popular on blocks of garages on housing estates. They offer a visible deterrent and physical stop the door from opening.
The major disadvantage to a Garage Defender is that they are fitted to the floor. If you have any back issues, then the Garage Defender will be difficult for you to open and close. Secondly, because they are fitted to the floor, the padlock can collect a lot of dirt in the keyway. This may stop you from being able to open it.
Garage Security Improvement 3
Fitting a pair of garage deadbolts is the best option to secure your garage door. By installing a couple of garage deadbolts, you will have an additional two locking points. The deadbolts are fitted to either side of the garage door and about 30-50 cm above the ground. They fit onto the inside of the garage door; then a keyway is cut into the garage door so that it can be operated from inside and out.
Recommended Locksmiths and Security Companies.
McCallum Locksmiths Limited – 07789997214 – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raunds or Rushden.
If live in Raunds or Rushden and need a trustworthy locksmith, then please contact Patrick Golledge. Tel – 07415374045 – email email@example.com.
For Essex I can wholeheartedly recommend Andrew Marsh – The Lock Father – firstname.lastname@example.org – 08000 113933. You will not find a better locksmith.
CCTV – As already mentioned CCTV AWARE. Like the Lock Father, you will not find a better CCTV installation company. Email: email@example.com, Tel – 0800 772 0822
Ross Hames – Phone number: 07713 118306, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford
David Lofthouse – Phone number 07342174094, Email: email@example.com, Website: http://www.mistersmithlocks.com
Blakes Security Blakes Security cover everything to do with security: Locks, Safes, CCTV, Alarms, vehicle locks, antique lock repair and key cutting.- telephone: 01634 723230, Email: Info@blakessecurity.com. Website: www.blakessecurity.com
Rainham and Maidstone
Brian Burr – telephone: 07775 423744, Website:http://www.taurus-locks.co.uk/