According to Home Office statistics, burglaries have risen every year for the past three years. So what steps can you take to ensure that your home is safe and secure? Luckily, you don’t need to be a sitting duck for burglars and there are plenty of ways to better secure your home.
In doing so, you can obtain lower costs for your building and contents insurance. Why is this?
It’s because insurance premiums are built on a calculation of risk. By better securing your home and making it more difficult for burglars to obtain access, your home becomes a safer and lower risk proposition for building and contents insurance.
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Research shows that burglars will tend not to choose a house if it’s not an ‘easy mark’ and they can’t break in without making noise, or by doing so in less than five minutes. This means that additional safety devices will help to act as an effective deterrent.
Make your home difficult to enter
Always bear in mind that intruders will be less inclined to attempt to break into your home if it requires more skill, effort or tools than they possess. So firstly, look at your doors. If a burglar can gain entry by simply kicking them down, they will. Make sure your doors are solid, strong and carry quality kite marks.
Ideally, you need external doors made from solid hardwood or metal, which are at least 1.75 inches in thickness. The frames must be of equally solid materials and doors must fit frames securely or they’ll simply be kicked out of them.
Locks won’t be effective on a weak door, no matter how complex they are. Look to install a peephole or even a wide angled viewer so you can identify visitors before deciding whether to open up or not. These are safer than door chains.
Sliding glass doors can be a problem as they are notoriously easy to open. So make sure that you’ve installed locks on them and keep a dowel in the track of the doors to prevent them from being slid open from outside if the lock is off or broken.
Picking the right locks
Intruders can break low-grade locks, so don’t skimp on your security. Deadbolt locks are ideal. When you move to a new home, make sure you have the locks re-keyed.
Keypads can work as an effective alternative and combination key locks are ideal for keeping particular rooms off limits, as they’re inaccessible without the correct code.
Again, key locks are available for windows, so make sure you have them installed. Pin upper and lower frames of double-hung windows together and remember to secure skylights too.
Think also about what’s visible behind the window. Keep valuables out of sight and don’t have lots of expensive gadgets or equipment on show, to advertise that your home is worth breaking into.
Video surveillance and lighting
Consider installing video surveillance equipment and cameras around your home, with viewable access via the internet. Put the central recording device into a lockbox, so a thief can’t run off with it.
You can also use simple gadgets such as baby video monitors at other parts of the home. Intercom systems can be useful for larger properties or multiple-occupancy buildings and motion sensor lights are ideal for illuminating your home when people walk up to it or around it. Install good quality burglar alarms too and keep them maintained with an annual contract.
Getting a safe
The prices of good quality safes have fallen in recent years and they can be a good investment. Use it every day to make it a routine and change the code occasionally.
Be sure to store it somewhere that isn’t obvious and remember too that banks offer safe storage facilities for real valuables that you might prefer to house offsite.
Common sense measures
Finally, remember that common sense measures are one of the best deterrents for avoiding a burglary.
Install timers on your lights when away, keep curtains drawn and make sure you lock up properly when you leave the house. More than one chancer has simply tried a door or window simply to find it left open!