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Protecting Your Home

Home security tips

Broadland Security as come up with a few tips to help you protect your home while you’re away, or just to give you peace of mind when relaxing at home.

What physical steps do you recommend?

Windows: Fit key-operated window locks to all windows – even the small ones – and ensure you use them. Remember to remove the keys from the window locks. Ensure they’re in a safe place where you can find them if you need to open the window in an emergency, such as a fire.

Lighting: Criminals don’t like to be seen, so fitting external lighting can help to deter them. This lighting can either be dusk to dawn – ie on all night – or activated by movement sensors.

Doors: Make sure the doors and frames are strong and in good condition. External doors should be made of solid core construction – at least 44mm thick. Glass panels on or around the door are especially vulnerable, so when you have to replace them choose laminated glass.

Fit back and front doors with five-lever mortise deadlocks – and use them. Fit all exterior doors – top and bottom – with bolts. Remember to fit all security devices with strong screws or bolts ensuring they can’t be undone from the outside. Get specialist advice on fitting locks to patio doors. Fit both French doors, top and bottom, with a security mortise lock and mortise bolt.

Fit a door viewer to the front door and ensure enough light is available outside for you to identify callers before you open the door. Use a door chain or bar – these limit the amount the door can be opened and allow you to speak to callers while still not allowing entry. Consider fitting a letterbox cowl or cage which will prevent a thief from putting their hand in and trying the locks.

What else can I do?

Keep keys away from the front door where a thief may be able to reach them using the letterbox or a broken glass panel. Make sure you remove keys from the locks when your out or asleep, but ensure you know where they are so you and your family can escape in the event of a fire.

If you’ve just moved into your property or if you’ve lost a key, then ensure you have the locks changed. This can be done cost-effectively by only changing the barrels. Keep the spare keys somewhere secure – don’t leave keys in an obvious place, and store them out of sight. Don’t leave an emergency key under the mat or in any other obvious location – it’ll be the first place a burglar looks.

Never leave the shed or garage unlocked – make sure the door is strong enough to withstand being kicked in, and fit it with a sturdy padlock. Where ladders are stored, make sure they’re locked up with a padlock and chain to a fixed point to prevent them being used by the burglar to gain access to your house.

When you’re out:

Don’t advertise your absence – if you’re going away, make sure you cancel the milk and the papers, and use commercially available timers to turn lights on and off. Keep valuables and attractive items out of sight – net curtains or blinds can help to do this.

Ask a trusted neighbour or friend to look after your home for you while you’re away. Get them to collect the post and open and close the curtains, making the place look occupied – be prepared to do the same for them. Guard the information about when you’re away, and don’t post the information onto social networking sites.

What can I do about valuables?

Mark your property with indelible identification – showing your postcode and the number of your house or flat or the first two letters of its name – using a permanent etching tool or an ultra-violet marking pen. Only use UV marking when other methods would reduce the value of the object, because the mark can fade.

Consider registering items on www.immobilise.com. You can register almost any valuable here, but it’s extremely good for mobile phones, electronic items and jewellery. Take pictures of all valuable items – such as jewellery and silverware – and write down the serial numbers of your TV, video, hi-fi, home computer and camera equipment, to help the police identify them should they be recovered. If you have many valuable items, fit a safe. Ask your local police station for ‘post coded property’ stickers to display in the front and back windows of your house.

Are you fully insured? Insurance will relieve you of the financial worry of replacing stolen goods and many insurance companies offer reduced premiums for people with good home security. Ask the firm if it minds which systems you buy. Keep your insurance up to date and make sure that the cover you have bought is sufficient for your needs.

Finally – be a good neighbour. If you see anyone acting suspiciously in your neighbourhood, call the police on 999. You would want them to do the same for you. Consider joining a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Anyone can start up a Watch – call your local police for details.

If you see signs of a break-in at your property don’t go in or call out, go to a neighbour’s house and ring the police on 999.