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Advice centre

Home security

General advice around securing your home

What a burglar looks for when choosing their property
  • A home which appears to be empty
  • Easy access to the back of the building
  • Trees and high bushes in the surrounding area which provide good cover
  • Homes with no visible signs of protection such as alarms or lighting.
Door Security
Door Security
  • Laminated glass should be used in all glazed areas. Wooden beading should be   glued and fixed with security screws
  • Front doors should have a viewer and door chain
  • Back doors should ideally be fitted with a five lever mortise deadlock and two     sashlocks (latch)
  • Letter boxes should be positioned so that people cannot reach through and release         the lock
  • When fitting security products always remember to use strong bolts and long screws
  • Make sure you have an escape route in case of fire or other emergency.
Patio Doors

Most patio doors made recently will incorporate a multi-point locking system. On older units and those without multi-point locking, fit special patio door locks to the top and bottom of the sliding door. Also ensure that an "anti-lift" device is used. This will prevent the sliding door being levered off its runners.

Window Security
Window Locks

In the absence of a multi-point locking system and laminated glass, all ground floor windows and those which open onto accessible areas, balconies or roofs should be fitted with window locks, unless designated as a means of escape.

French Windows

These generally open outwards, have exposed hinges and at least two flexible edges. These doors are especially susceptible to attack from levering instruments, e.g. screwdrivers, jemmies or even 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.

Glass

For those windows and other glazed areas which are at higher risk of criminal attack, fit laminated safety glass. Vulnerable areas include patio doors, French windows and glazed external doors, as well as windows adjacent to any door.

Beware of toughened safety glass! It shatters into thousands of small pieces with no sharp edges, leaving a gaping hole to climb or reach through: toughened safety glass can be regarded as 'burglar friendly'. Do not confuse it with laminated safety glass.

In double glazed units, laminated glass on both the inner and outer surfaces will offer the ultimate protection. However, one pane of laminated glass should be enough to prevent entry. It is generally recommended that the laminated pane is fitted on the inside surface, thereby offering protection from the burglar and reduced risk of accidental injury to the occupants.

Register any valuable items on the national Immobilise database which aims to help reduce crime and return stolen items to their rightful owners.

Moving Home & Holidays

To reduce the risk of a burglary while you are on holiday make sure you:

  • Cancel the milk and papers
  • Hide valuable items
  • Property mark your valuables
  • Lock your garage/tools
  • Make arrangements for your post
  • Lock all doors and windows
  • Cut the lawns
  • Set timer switches on lights and/or radio
  • Get a friend or neighbour to collect your post, draw your curtains and make your            home look lived in.
  • 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
  • Don't mention on your answering machine that you will be away from home for a few    days
Open window
Moving home

Check that estate agents, removers and other trades-people are members of a professional body or association.

If you have put your home up for sale ask your neighbours to keep an eye on your home while you are out. Let them know your movements and when you expect possible buyers to call, but take care who you tell.

Advice from estate agents. If you are out and a 'for Sale board' has been recommended, ask your estate agent to be careful about the details they give out about you, your work and the security arrangements and layout of your home.

Insurance cover

Make sure that your home contents insurance cover will transfer when you move and remember to update your motor registration and insurance details too.

Entry to your home

Only allow someone to view your home if they have made an appointment with the estate agents. If strangers appear without an appointment and ask to view your home, do NOT let them in. Suggest they contact the estate agent first.

Dealing with rubbish

When you prepare to move home you may decide to throw away more things that usual. Be careful about leaving large piles of rubbish or packed bins outside your home for too long.

Packing your belongings

Take care if you collect lots of boxes from local shops - a burglar may see this as a sign that you are moving soon. Think about using large plastic bags for lighter items. Think about putting small valuable items, like jewellery, in the bank.

Moving day

Keep your possessions secure. Try to get friends and neighbours to help keep an eye on your home or possessions or to help out on the day of the move.

Keep all doors and windows locked - not forgetting your garage, shed or patio doors - or watched when they are not in use.

Take special care with valuable items such as televisions or DVD players.

The removal van

Make sure that your removers can secure their vehicle and stop it from being stolen. Ask the removers to take care that the door used for loading and unloading the vehicle should not be left unguarded or unlocked when not in use.

After the move

Neighbourhood Watch. Most new neighbours are friendly, welcoming and helpful. Get to know them as soon as possible and think about joining your local neighbourhood watch scheme. Your local crime prevention officer can provide advice on how to do this.

New possessions

Take care when leaving empty boxes outside your home. They can give away details of new and valuable equipment that might be worth stealing.

Marking possessions

If your possessions are marked with a postcode, make sure you change it to the new postcode. Keep your own list of these items.

Making it secure

You may want to think about changing the door locks or fitting key-operated locks to the windows of your new home. Discuss this with your insurance company, housing officer, or crime prevention officer. If you are renting the home, talk to your landlord.

Code of Practice

Second hand stores across the West Midlands have signed up to a new scheme that slams the door in the face of thieves trying to sell stolen goods.

Stores such as Cash Converters, Cash Generator, Cex and other independent second hand stores have voluntarily signed up to a new code of practice that sees them checking any identifiable item offered up for sale to them against a national database of lost and stolen goods.

CheckMEND is a is database that links with the national database Immobilise, insurance companies, credit agreements and police systems to log goods with an identifiable mark including phones, i-pads, bikes and laptops that are reported lost or stolen.

Each search on the CheckMEND site generates a unique certificate number.  This can be issued to a potential buyer to prove that at the time of purchase the item was not reported lost or stolen and no adverse information was recorded against it.

When an item is checked the shop is issued a certificate and then a future buyer is issued that certificate number so they can verify online that at the time of purchase the item was not registered lost or stolen.

Shops taking part in the scheme are easily identifiable from their 'We don't buy stolen goods' stickers carrying the force crest.

Registering your goods at www.immobilise.com means that should they be lost or stolen in the future and recovered by us we can more easily reunite the item with their owner.

Distraction burglary and bogus callers

Burglars won't go to the trouble of breaking in if they can just knock and be invited in. So always be on your guard when anyone you're not expecting - a man, a woman or even a child - turns up at your door.

Bogus 'officials' may be smartly dressed and claim to be from the council, gas board, health authority or other organisation.

Bogus 'dealers' may offer to buy your antiques, furniture or jewellery, at what seems to be a good price.

If you want to sell something, choose one or two genuine dealers to value it or ask a friend or relative for their advice.

Bogus 'workmen' may say that they need to come in to check something or make urgent repairs. You also need to be careful of callers who offer to make building repairs or tarmac your drive. Often they'll ask for money in advance; they may even offer to drive you to the bank to withdraw money to pay them.

If you need any building work done, get several written quotes from reputable firms, then decide which one is best. If in doubt, talk it through with a neighbour or someone in your family.

Genuine callers will normally make an appointment first and will carry identification with their photograph on.

Always put the chain on

If someone calls at your door:

  • Check to see who it is by using the spy hole if you have one, or look through a front window.
  • Always put the chain on before you open the door. (If you don't have a chain it's a good idea to get one - they don't cost much)
  • With PVC doors, it can be difficult and costly to fit a door chain. Check with the manufacturer before you buy a PVC door, that a chain will be fitted.
  • Fire safety - only put on your door chain as you answer the door - don't keep it on all the time as this could delay your exit in case of fire.
  • Look at their clothing. Some official callers will have a uniform bearing their organisation's name or symbol.
  • If you don't know the caller, ask to see their identity card. Check it carefully, and keep the chain on while you do this. Genuine callers won't mind if you close the door while you do this.
  • Some public utility services (e.g. water, electricity, gas) operate a password system. Contact your local branch to find out more.
  • If you're still not sure, ask the caller to come back later. You can then check their story by phoning the organisation or company they claim to represent. Look up the number in your own telephone directory. Don't rely on the telephone number on their card - it may be the number of a crook's partner.
  • Bogus callers sometimes work in pairs. Beware of one distracting you while the other steals your property. The best practice is not to let them in.
  • Ensure your back door is locked if you are answering the door to someone you don't know.
  • Watch out for anyone who says they're in a hurry. Don't let them pressure you. If in doubt, call a neighbour or friend.
  • If you have any suspicions at all, don't let them in.
  • If you're still not happy, phone the police - dial 999 - and tell them what's happened.  And tell your neighbours.

Always put the chain on and use the spy-hole before you open the door.
Never let anyone in unless you are absolutely sure they are genuine.

Investigating Burglary

This film from our Derbyshire Constabulary colleagues shows you how the police investigate a crime and what role the public has to play as part of that investigation. The film also talks about the Victims’ Code and what level of service you can expect from the police.

Security and alarms

  • Make sure your home is secure at all times using suitable window and door locks. Also consider usingtimers that switch on lights when you are out
  • Set your house alarm if you have one
  • Keep all jewellery and other valuables in a safety deposit box – your bank can provide suitable advice

Suitable safes and insurance

  • If you prefer to keep your jewellery at home, invest in a suitable safe that is installed to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Your insurance company will provide advice as to which type and grade of safe best suits your needs. Theywill also advise whether your home insurance provides sufficient cover for high-value jewellery
  • Keep an inventory of your jewellery. This can be done in a paper version or online at immobilise.com. Include identifying marks, images, value and the purchase date

Secured by Design

Visit Home Office approved website securedbydesign.com for a range of security products which have been awarded the 'Police Preferred Specification' status, or visit soldsecure.com for products approved by the Master Locksmiths Association.

More information on Crime Reduction