Last year, house burglaries which included the theft of a vehicle rose from 6% to 7%. Car keys were stolen in 9% of burglaries even if the vehicle wasn’t stolen.
The figures recently published by the Prudential, highlight the need for vigilance in all matters related to home security. This obviously includes home improvements – from choosing new windows and doors to fitting a conservatory or converting a garage (especially where the garage is integral to the house).
Because you’re going to be living with your windows and doors for a very long time, make sure when discussing home improvements with company reps that you discuss the issue of security.
The Police design initiative – Secure by Design – is just one example used by some companies to show that their products have been officially recognised as meeting a ‘Police preferred specification’.
Windows and doors should be internally beaded and door locks should preferably be shielded from tampering with from the outside. Remember smaller window ‘openers’ will help stop intruders, particularly if you like to leave a window open at night.
Locking handles can often lock the window opener ajar – enough for ventilation but not enough to get a hand through.
Patio doors (sliding doors) should be fitted with some form of anti- prising lock or mechanism, to prevent would-be intruders simply crow-barring the door off its rail and gaining entry.
French doors should have good multipoint locking systems to deter thieves. This includes exterior doors on porches, conservatories, sunrooms and orangeries. If there’s a door between your house and the conservatory, then for added security you could make that a lockable door also.
Finally, don’t leave keys in plain sight and certainly never in locks. Ingenious intruders can use wire and other means to lure keys through letterboxes etc. If they do manage to break in, don’t make it easy for them to steal property by being able to unlock your doors properly and simply march your belongings out through a fully open door.
With a bit of luck, they’ll decide your house really isn’t worth the hassle and move on.
A couple of exterior tips – gravelled areas on the approach to your house (driveway) or paths leading to doors and windows make a noise – burglars don’t like that. Consider a few well placed security lights and planting some spiky plants along garden boundaries – particularly if your garden backs onto open fields or land.