A house in the UK is broken into every 40 seconds.
Homes that don’t have a security system are 2-3 times more likely to be burgled. Living in the suburbs?
The risk is even greater!
With these alarming statistics, the reason to why you should secure your home is clear.
By following certain practices that help in keeping your home safe and by using decent home security systems at your premises, you can make it extremely difficult for a burglar to break into your home, and by that prevent the next burglary.
According to recent crime statistics (see info graphic at the bottom of page), in 30% of burglary cases the burglars enter through an unlocked door or window and in about 34% of those incidents they will enter through the front door. So:
Always make sure all of your doors and windows are locked at all times.
Also be advised that some locks (e.g. upvc mechanisms, nightlatch locks, etc.) might seem as if they’re locked while in fact they are not.
To lock almost any type of lock you should turn a key inside it.
If you just shut the door behind you when leaving home and don’t actually use a key to lock the door, then the security of your house might still be compromised.
Some lock systems have built-in mechanisms that will provide adequate protection. However, it is always recommended to use a key (or thumb-turn if you are inside) to lock your doors when they are not at sight. This is the first and the most important step in keeping your home protected.
Once you’ve checked that off, you can move forward to look at other forms of security you can use to protect your property.
Find out which they are – Below…
Here are the 10 best ways to secure your home in 2019.
1. Door security – How to secure your doors
- 2 x Locks on every front/back door – Make sure all of your external doors are fitted with at least 2 good quality door locks.
Make sure that at least one of the locks on each external door is a deadbolt lock and for maximum security have it be a BS3621, 5 lever deadlock. Keep track of your locks and occasionally verify that they are all in excellent condition.
- Verify that your hinges are fitted correctly – Door should have 2-3 hinge sets that should be installed at the right spots on the door. Accurate installation of the hinges will not only add to your door security (e.g. bottom hinge located too high could make it easier to kick in or force the bottom of your door open), but also help to keep your door at a smooth functional condition.
- Verify that your letterbox is fitted correctly – When installing a door letterbox a hole is made in the door. Although the desire calls for making the letterbox in the middle of door so it would look nice, in terms of security it’s actually better to have the letterbox installed at the bottom of the door.
This way no one can slip a hand or a stick through the letterbox and tamper with your locks from the inside. The fact that night latch locks (which in many cases are easy to unlock from the inside) are usually located at the top part of the door, makes this point even stronger.
- Verify that all your exterior doors are in good condition (no cracks, split wood, rut, etc.), supported by solid door frames and fitted properly.
- If your door has a letterbox slot — Make sure you prevent any access through it from the outside to any of the locks, which could be tampered with to open the door. For that purpose, you can install a letterbox security cowl and a letterbox cage.
- Have your exterior doors swing outwards – Most homes have their doors open inwards because of the way hinges are designed and the attempt to keep them hidden for better door security.
In doors that open outward, the hinges are left exposed outside which makes it easier for burglars to pop out the hinge pin and remove the door from its place. However, having your doors swing outwards is an amazingly effective trick that will make it harder for any burglar to simply kick in your door in a few seconds (which is the most common way burglars actually get through doors), and by installing security hinges studs on your outwards opening door, you can prevent from the hinges to be compromised by anyone from the outside.
- London & Birmingham Bars – London and Birmingham bars are a great way to secure your door frame and are recommended by the police.
Your front and back exterior doors should be fitted with a London bar to reinforces the door frame on the lock’s side and a Birmingham to reinforces the door frame on the hinges side.
- Secure sliding patio doors – On average 1 in 5 burglaries happen through the back door and many of them are sliding glass doors. To protect sliding doors first make sure that your current door lock functions properly. To improve the door security you can add some exterior locks for sliding doors. And as a free method use any type of long bar in the sliding door track that faces the inside of your house, to prevent it from being slid open.
2. Window security – How to secure your windows
Windows are the second most common burglary points and should be secured accordingly.
- Install Window Locks – Window latches could be fairly easily compromised and also don’t usually comply with most home insurers standards. Make sure to have key operated window locks installed on all of your windows.
- Apply window security film to your widows – This will help to prevent them from being broken into and also protect you from any glass shard hazards if the window ever breaks. With tinted films, you can also blur the windows so that it’s impossible to see through to the inside of your home and see what there is to steal.
- Reinforced glass – Another option that is slightly more expensive than a window film but is also sturdier is the shatterproof glass. The glass in a standard window can usually be replaced with this type of glass that is harder to break.
- Add Security Grilles – Security bars are the best way to protect your windows from burglars. They do however come with a price.
- Install spikes on the window sill.
- Use natural barriers – Planting bushes around the house and prickly plants under the windows of first floors can help in making the risk of breaking into your home through the window big enough for any burglar to give up of trying in the first place.
3. Be careful with your keys
The last thing you’d want is giving away your keys to the wrong person. This can sometimes happen by mistake if you’re not careful with your keys. So here are the safety measures of how to always keep your keys safe:
- Never leave a key outside of your home – Even if you leave a key in a hidden spot that is not as obvious as under the mat or flowerpot, thieves might find it and easily break in. Even an outdoor key safe is not recommended for keeping the keys to your house. If you need to, leave the keys with your neighbour or someone you trust nearby.
- Never keep your keys and your home address together – Avoid carrying a keychain that has your address on it and never put your keys in a bag that contains any documents with your home address (in case your bag gets lost or stolen).
- Change locks when necessary – If you’ve lost your keys (even without an address attached to them), gave your keys to someone you do not fully trust, left your keys with a contractor for refurbishment work, moved into a new home where you’re not 100% sure who had your keys before, or for any other reason you may suspect your keys need to be changed, replace the locks and keys without further delay.
4. Hide your valuables
Burglars target homes where there is valuable stuff to steal. If your home is on the ground floor or in such a position where people can see through into your house make sure to hide any valuables out of sight. And also:
- Use tinted films on your windows.
- Cover your windows with blinds and curtains.
- Keep fancy bikes, cars, bicycles, and scooters in the garage rather than in front of your house.
- Avoid keeping boxes of new purchases out on the curb – Instead, shred and throw them into the recycling bin.
5. Don’t advertise your trips
Sharing your vacations on social networks like Facebook might be fun but it might as well attract unwanted intruders into your home while you’re enjoying your time away. So keep any information about your trip in private and share it only with people you trust.
6. Avoid giving hints that you are away
Even if you don’t share your trips on social networks, thieves might still look up for signs around your house that indicate you are away. Make sure to have your mail delivery services forwarded elsewhere or paused for the duration of your trip. That way your mail and papers are not piled up at the front of your house hinting you are away. You can also ask a neighbor or a friend to pick up your mail every few days and put out your trashcan on the curb for the weekly collection day.
7. Hang Warning Signs
Postings signs like “beware of dogs”, “CCTV cameras in operation”, “protected by an alarm system”, etc. in front and around the house is an effective deterrent too. Just make sure to not overdo it and especially if you don’t really have any security system in place so it doesn’t look too obvious.
8. Install home security systems
Professional security systems are relatively more expensive than most of the other suggested ways here to keep your home safe. Not only do they cost more, the installation and maintenance of systems are also factors that add to the price. If you have the budget however, home security systems are no doubt an essential step in turning your home to a burglarproof fortress. Listed by priority here are the best security systems to install for protecting your home:
- Security Grilles / Bars and Gates – Fixed iron security grilles installed on your windows and a solid metal gate on your door are the best form of metal security barriers.
Retractable grilles are better than having nothing but are slightly weaker than the fixed option. If you do get this type of grille installed on your doors and windows, make sure that they are of premium quality. Low-cost sliding grilles and gates tend to have more issues in general and could become too flimsy.
- Security Fence – Fences can provide as solid security to your home in some cases. In others, it will place an obstacle that would make it harder for burglars to reach your home but won’t be enough to stop a burglary.
That’s why it’s important to consider fitting the right type of fence and only get one installed after your home is already fitted with grilles and gates.
- Alarm – Intruder alarms are great for deterring burglars and call out for help. The only issue is that by the time you, the police or a security guard arrive at the place, the burglars will probably be gone with some of your valuables already.
Alarms also come with maintenance costs and especially if you get them connected to a security guard service. That’s why alarms come in second place on our list and better be accompanied by good security grilles and gate system.
- CCTV – Close Circuit Television comes last on our home security system list because it only acts as a deterrent if a criminal notice that you have it. Even if you do catch a burglar on camera, nothing guarantees that the police will track down the trespasser or that you’ll get any of your things back.
Having that being said, CCTVs are great as security devices for businesses, where there is a need to manage the security of a large space or a building. There is can be used for capturing on camera all types of crimes and lead to their committers’ arrest.
9. Hire only reliable locksmiths
If you need your locks or keys replaced always hire a locksmith you can trust. Criminal locksmiths can keep key duplications for your locks and use them to break into your home even years later. They can also inspect your house from the inside and discover weak points which they can break through in the future. It’s rare but it happens so don’t take the risk, make thorough research and hire only reliable local locksmiths. You can also hire a professional locksmith to inspect your home security and offer any fixes he sees right for improving your home security.
10. Get friendly with the neighbours
Burglars will, in many cases, be studying the routines around the properties they intend to break into. They’ll be watching and making notes of who is living in the property, what times they’re leaving in the morning for work and when they’re coming back.
By getting to know your neighbours you can find out who is normally staying at home during the day and ask them kindly to be watchful for any suspicious activity around your home’s entry points.
11. Exterior lighting
Lightning up the outdoor landscapes around your house is another good way to keep criminals away. Burglars are always looking for hidden dark spots where they can’t be spotted while attempting a burglary. Therefore, make sure to install security lights around any access point to your home including the front and back doors, windows, pathways, etc. Use outdoor security lights that are motion activated by sensors and have them on a timer to be sure they work while you’re away. To save some money and energy you can also consider getting solar powered outdoor lights. Apart from improving your home security, exterior lights will also help in making it safer and more convenient to hang around the house at night.
12. Get a dog
Having a dog comes with responsibility but could help in protecting your home and is also proven to contribute to your happiness. The barks of any dog can deter burglars away. If you adopt a dog for improving your home security, only make sure that the dog actually barks when it feels unsafe. Having that said, a small dog that barks would be a much better deterrent than a larger silent one.