#TuesdayTips – Keep your home safe this year
What with new Christmas presents from loved ones, and gifts to ourselves in January sales, the New Year is often a time when our homes are filled, and also a time when we may let our guard down at home.
The 2015 Crime Survey for England and Wales carried out by the Office for National Statistics estimated 750,000 incidents of domestic burglary, so how can you keep your home safe, both during and after the holiday season?
Mark Jones, NHBC’s head of house building standards, said: “There are a number of simple steps people can take to improve the security of their homes. From burglar alarms to security lights, these measures can add value to properties and offer homeowners peace of mind in helping to make sure their homes and belongings are well protected.
“People who live in newer properties, may already have security locks, burglar alarms and security lighting included as standard. But there are also a number of simple measures people can take to keep their homes and property safe from burglars.”
Improve the security of your doors
It is important to have robust locks on both the front and back doors. Make sure all entrance doors to your home are fitted with securely fixed locks or a multi-point locking system with at least 1000 differs (the number of possible keys for a given lock). Also ensure that you have a latch and deadlocking system.
Check your window locking systems
Ground floor windows and any others that are easily reached by climbing are recommended to be fitted with lockable devices/handles which cannot be released without a key. If you own a home built in the last ten years, this may already have modern security locks
Ensure that you have a wide angle view of the area immediately outside the main entrance door to check on callers. Newer properties may already have a through-door viewer or clear glazing either to part of the door or a convenient window which provides a view of the main entrance. You may also want to replace your front door if it looks tatty, it’s the kind of thing that will attract a burglar’s eye.
Consider a light sensor…
Crime can be prevented by external detection security lighting that switches on after dark when someone is nearby, illuminating the general area. It’s highly effective in deterring potential intruders and therefore definitely worth considering if your home doesn’t already have it installed.
…and alarm systems
A house alarm systems acts in two ways – to deter intruders, and detect the opening of a window or a door. Some systems can also be linked up to a mobile phone number letting the owner know the alarm has been triggered.
Lock rear entry gates
Make sure your back garden is as private and secure as possible. Many burglaries start at the back, where no-one can see them taking place.
Don’t advertise when you’re away
Leave the lights on in the evening (but not just hall or landing lights) or use an automatic time switch. But, if you’re away for a length of time, arrange for a neighbour to generally keep an eye on your home, and ask for your post to be held with Royal Mail so your pile of letters doesn’t advertise the fact you’re away.
Be secure, but also safe
Some doors can be locked from the inside. If that’s the case with yours, and it’s locked using a key, make sure you have a spare key in a convenient place nearby, so that you can get out quickly in an emergency. Newer houses are fitted with locks on the front door which have a thumb turn on the inside to provide a quick escape without the use of a key.