Home security tips

Where possible, front doors should have a door chain and viewer.

Letterboxes should be positioned so that people cannot reach through and release the lock.

Wooden back doors should ideally have a five-lever mortice deadlock and two bolts.

UPVC doors or doors with Euro Cylinders should have DHF TS007 3-Star, or Sold Secure Diamond Standard Anti-Bump replacement cylinders fitted. Always consult a Master Locksmiths Association accredited locksmith if you are uncertain. Badly-fitted Euro Cylinders can compromise your security.

When fitting security products always use strong bolts and long screws. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines or consult a specialist using the guide from the Master Locksmiths Association

Laminated safety glass should be used in all glazed areas.

Wooden beading should be glued and fixed securely.

In the case of UPVC, beading should be internal. Older UPVC windows (externally beaded) can have the beading sealed into place.

Most modern patio doors incorporate a multi-point locking system. On older units, or those without multi-point locking, approved patio door locks should be fitted to the top and bottom of the sliding door. Ensure an 'anti-lift' device is used as this will prevent the sliding door being levered off its runners.

Patio door Euro Cylinders should be DHF TS007 3-Star, or have Sold Secure Diamond Standard Anti-Bump replacement cylinders fitted. Always consult a Master Locksmiths Association accredited locksmith if you are uncertain. Badly-fitted Euro Cylinders can compromise your security.

All ground-floor windows and those which open onto accessible areas such as balconies or roofs should have window locks fitted (unless they are a designated means of escape).

As these generally open outwards and have exposed hinges they can be vulnerable to being levered open by screwdrivers or garden tools.

Security on timber and metal frame French windows can be improved by fitting mortise or surface-mounted security bolts on the inside top and bottom, together with hinge bolts and frame reinforcement.

When replacing doors and windows, look for products that have been tested to the PAS 24 standard from 2012 onwards and carry the Secured by Design logo.

Vulnerable areas include French windows, glazed external doors and windows situated next to any door. In all of these cases laminated safety glass should be used.

BEWARE OF 'BURGLAR FRIENDLY' TOUGHENED SAFETY GLASS

This type of glass shatters into thousands of small pieces with no sharp edges, offering access to reach or climb through. Toughened safety glass should not be confused with laminated safety glass. If you are unsure, check with a glazing professional.

In double-glazed units, laminated glass (inner and outer) offers the best protection. However, one pane of laminated glass should be enough to prevent entry. It's generally recommended that the laminated pane is fitted on the inside, so as to offer protection from burglary and reduced risk of accidental injury to the occupants.

  • Lock all doors and windows
  • Lock your garage, and secure tools
  • Cancel the milk and papers
  • Get a friend or neighbour to collect your post
  • Draw your curtains and make your home look lived in
  • Property mark your valuables
  • Cut the lawns
  • Set timer switches on lights and a radio
  • Avoid displaying your name and address on your luggage (Put your address inside the case to help identification if the luggage is lost)
  • Hide financial documents and keys - if possible, use a safe
  • Don't mention on social media or your answering machine that you will be away from home
  • Consider keeping valuable/precious items in a safety deposit box - Your bank or insurance company will be able to provide suitable advice
  • If you keep your valuable/precious jewellery at home, purchase a suitable safe and have it installed to the manufacturer's instructions. Your insurance company will provide advice on the type of safe that best suits your needs. They will also advise whether your home insurance provides sufficient cover for high-value jewellery
  • It's important that you keep an inventory of your jewellery. This can be done in a paper version or online at Immobilise. Include identifying marks, images, value and purchase dates/information
  • Gardens and sheds also need consideration as the darker nights approach
  • Garden tools and DIY equipment can be used to get into your house. Put your tools away and ensure outside sheds and store cupboards are securely locked
  • Securely lock any chain tools, cycles, mowers, ladders and other valuables inside a shed or garage
  • Bring tools inside if you do not have a shed or garage
  • Mark items with your postcode and house number - this makes stolen property easier to trace and identify
  • Regularly check fences and gates are in good repair and check overgrown areas where someone could hide

(including SHEDS, GARAGES AND GREENHOUSES)

Today's garden sheds or garages are home to expensive electrical items, all manner of bikes and other items on the wish list of opportunist criminals. Treat your shed or garage as an extension to your house and give it the same levels of security.

  • Put away all tools and equipment and ensure sheds/garages are locked using solid and secure locks
  • Install outside security lighting that comes on automatically at dusk
  • If you have a burglar alarm, speak to your installer about extending it to cover outbuildings, garage and sheds
  • Register your valuables for free on the national property database www.immobilise.com

Follow the 'lock up, lights on' rule when the clocks go back.

  • Dark evenings provide excellent cover for a sneak-in burglar who spots an open window in an unoccupied room; sees your valuables through open curtains or blinds; or tries their luck with an unlocked door
  • Don't leave keys in the lock or on a side table in view of a window as they'll be easy for a thief to reach through your letterbox
  • Don't leave items in open porches that could be used to enter your home, e.g. curved-handled umbrellas to open doors or dropped keys through letterboxes
  • Always lock your front door from inside - in particular UPVC front doors that have handles, as these are often left unlocked when people are in the house. Burglars know this!
  • Secure UPVC doors by fitting a snap-resistant cylinder lock, certified to TS007 standard. Accredited locksmiths can advise on recommended products

If you'd like further advice, or if you need to report a burglary, click here for our dedicated 'burglary' page.

  • Bogus workmen often claim they need to enter your home to make urgent repairs or check something. They may also offer to carry out property maintenance, often asking for cash in advance without undertaking any work
  • If you need work done at your home, get several written quotes from reputable firms before making a decision
  • Never feel pressured to allow an unexpected caller into your home
  • Call their company from the number in your telephone directory not the one on their business card.
  • And remember, there is no such organisation as the 'Water Board'

If you'd like further advice on bogus callers, click here for our dedicated 'distraction burglary' page.