There are plenty of ways to make your home more secure that won’t necessarily cost a lot of money.
Here are a number of ideas for improving security, and also how to respond if you do find yourself having to confront thieves in your home.
Front and rear doors
Most burglars get in through the front door, so make yours as secure as possible:
Fit a deadbolt – If your front door doesn’t have a dead-bolt locking system, or cylinder lock as they’re also known, fit one immediately. A simple night latch doesn’t offer much defence.
Frames – Make sure the door frame is in good repair and hinges are strong and well-fitted.
Letterbox – Make sure your letterbox doesn’t allow anyone to actually open the door through it.
Lock it! – It may sound obvious, but you need to fully lock your doors every time you leave the house. Don’t just leave a door on the night latch, even if you’re just in the back garden.
Glass panels – Plenty of old front doors have glass panel inserts which aren’t double-glazed or reinforced. Get any such panels changed, or at least apply a reinforcing film.
There are whole host of alarm systems on the market and the police highly recommend that every home has at least one:
Fully-monitored systems – These are, of course, the best, but are relatively expensive due to the initial installation and product cost, as well as the ongoing monthly charge for monitoring.
Other systems which make a good deterrent – These include more simple motion sensor alarms and lights.
Cameras – When displayed at the front of a house, even if they’re just relatively inexpensive digital recorders, cameras also put thieves off.
Evidence of an alarm – Try and display evidence of an alarm system at both the front and rear of the property.
Keep all keys well away from front doors, and out of sight. Plenty of homes are burgled because burglars fish out keys through a letterbox.
Double glazing – Double glazed windows are the most secure, and a good burglar deterrent. Older windows ideally should have proper key operated locks.
Locking windows – Leave windows in the ‘locked ventilation’ position if you’re going to leave them open, especially when you’re out.
Valuables – If possible, keep as many valuables out of sight when rooms can be viewed through windows.
Don’t help the burglars!
Keep all tools, ladders and any items outside that could possibly be used by thieves to gain height and access to a property locked away.
Items left in gardens during the summer months can attract unwanted attention. Lock them securely away.
What to do if you find a burglar in your home
Try to avoid confrontation – If you suspect someone has broken into your home, call the police immediately. If you’re worried about making a noise call ‘55’, a special number set up so the police will know you’re in danger but can’t speak.
Leave the property – It might be tempting to see what’s going on but the best thing to do is to simply leave the house, if possible, and get help.
Car alarm – Setting off your car alarm from inside your home may send burglars running.
Confronting a burglar – Try and stay calm. Speak evenly and without aggression, and don’t make any sudden moves.
Reasonable force – The law recently changed so that, if it comes to it, you’re allowed to use a level of force which, in the cold light of day, might be seen as excessive but which was deemed reasonable at the time.
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Published 18 April 2018