How to Prevent a Burglary
Make it Difficult for Burglars- Home Security Although, theft or burglary cover is one of the principal perils under a standard insurance policy, ask anyone who has been the victim of a domestic burglary and they will soon tell you that they would have preferred not to have been a victim in the first place. Having a break-in at your home, even with the benefit of home insurance, can be very distressing, and the thought of strangers on your property, is not at all pleasant. Interestingly, following a burglary, many people then seek to improve the security of their home, when really, it would have been better to have good quality security in force in the first place, prevention really is better than cure when it comes to your property and the good news is, not all security measures will cost you extra money.
Most thieves are merely opportunists, and they are often unwittingly aided by homeowners who do not pay too much attention to home security. Windows are left open when “popping out to the shops”, Doors are sometimes old with poor quality locks, entrances to the property are obscured by large hedges or trees, or post and newspapers are allowed to build up on the door mat, during a holiday. All of these will enable to a thief to consider your home as a soft target.
Before, we look at extra ways of improving the security of your home; let’s look at some of the statistics relating to domestic break-ins. It is reported that in almost 50% of cases, thieves, prefer to enter via the front door off the property. This is followed by entry via the back door, then the side door. Breaking and entering, via doors, accounts for almost 70% of all break-ins at domestic property.
The doors, to your property, should thus be the first port of call for improving home security. Look at your home from a burglars point of view for a moment, how secure are the locks on your doors? Are your doors hidden by Trees or Hedges, remember, once within your property boundaries do your Trees & Hedges, provided the burglar with cover.
In terms of gaining access via a door to the property, in the vast majority of cases, entry is gained by forcing a lock. Unbelievably, in many cases, entry was gained to the property because the door was not locked at all. In approximately 15% of cases, entry is gained by breaking a panel in the door.
When considering improving security of your doors, The Association of British Insurers (ABI) guidelines require all final exit doors to be fitted with 5-lever mortice locks (or equivalent) conforming to BS 3621 and marked with the BS Kitemark. This type of lock is often a minimum requirement of insurance companies and your policy cover may be invalid if you do not have them fitted. Before, changing the locks, check to make sure they are not already fitted, as you may already have this type of lock without realizing it. To check if you have 5 lever British Standard Door Locks, simply open the door, 5 lever British Standard Door Locks have the BS3621 Kitemark stamped on the front end of the lock Not all doors are able to have this type of lock fitted; your local lock smith should be able make recommendations. (Check with your insurance first that the alternative lock is acceptable).
The other main method of gaining entrance to a property is via a window, burglars will consider forcing windows, smashing windows, or unbelievably entering via a window that has been left open. Fitting key operated window locks, to windows, can help, deter the opportunistic thief.
Key-operated window locks should be fitted to all downstairs windows, as well as those which can’t be seen from the street and also to easily accessible upstairs window, eg, those above a flat roof extension or by a drainpipe. Even small windows such as skylights or bathroom fanlights should have a lock, a thief can get through any gap larger than a human head and many will try to gain entry via the smallest of spaces. An easy mistake to make is leaving the key locks in the windows (for fear of loosing them). They should always be removed and kept in a safe place.
Louvre windows are especially vulnerable because the slats can be removed easily from the frame. Many homeowners have been burgled by thieves gaining entry via this method. To help prevent it, glue the slats in place with epoxy resin, and fit a special louvre lock. Your local locksmith or DIY store will help. Security grills are another option and there are now many that are quite decorative.
Casement locks will make it impossible to open a window without the correct key. Fanlight locks have a metal bolt to secure the metal arm used to open and close the window. Whilst it may seem that there is a confusing number of window locks, your local locksmith will be pleased to help or you could call your local crime prevention officer, these officers are very experienced in the field of home security and their advice is impartial & free.
The majority of burglaries occur during the week ( 70%) with a slight bias towards night time break-ins. Thieves will often trawl streets looking for the tell tale signs that a home is unoccupied, or has been un occupied for a period of time, these tips should help you keep your home safe.
- Fit good quality BS standard locks to all doors
- Fit Key operated Window locks to all ground floor and vulnerable windows
- Consider installing an alarm
- Make the entrances to the home as visible as possible.
- Consider fitting security lighting.
- Join your local neighbourhood watch.
- Keep your garage door shut, an empty garage is a real giveaway.
- If you are going on holiday, make sure you arrange for post to be removed and cancel your papers. Consider fitting timing switches to lights etc and see if you can ask a neighbour to open and shut curtains for you.
For a Home Insurance Quote contact Assetsure. We are able to offer insurance for a wide range of Uk property types including nonstandard construction