Alongside the traditional spring clean this year, you may be planning to invest in some home improvements and decorating. However, don’t forget to protect your home and all of your hard work with the correct security measures; the higher the investment, the higher the risk of crime.
Here, Dr Steffan George, development director of The Master Locksmiths Association, provides guidance on reviewing your home security for the longer days ahead.
It’s easy to check and maintain your property’s security with a few simple steps. Firstly, it’s important to give your house and garden a thorough audit from the outside in. Ensure trees and bushes are kept to a reasonable size to reduce the possibility of burglars using them as “cover”. Also check the condition of your fences and gates, which can be prone to neglect, as any weak points can make it easier for would-be thieves to gain entry to your property.
Outer buildings are often targets – external storage such as sheds and garages should be secured with high-quality padlocks, with hasps and staples. It’s advisable to look for third-party approval for these, such as the Sold Security hallmark of quality.
In addition, don’t be tempted to leave your free-standing garden furniture out overnight, and keep ladders, bins and gardening tools stored out of sight as these can be used in opportunist crime to gain access.
In terms of windows, check that all on the ground floor and any that are accessible on higher levels have secure window locks. It is important to check the quality and integrity of the locks as well as the structural condition of the doors and windows themselves. Locks can be prone to rust, while rotten and cracked frames can make doors and windows easier to break through. If you have any doubts, a local qualified locksmith – such as a Master Locksmith Association member – will be able to advise on which locks will be the most suitable, and ensure that they’ll meet insurance requirements.
Sensor lights or dusk-to-dawn lighting are additional deterrents and also help you gain access to your home late at night. Opportunist thieves often approach houses that look like nobody is at home, so by installing a number of light timers around the house it appears that the house is occupied and therefore minimises the risk of a break in. A “fake TV” is also a good idea – this device emits light that mimics that of a TV and can give the impression somebody is watching something in an upstairs room for example.
It almost goes without saying, but be sure to lock up your house and set the alarm every time you leave. Don’t leave keys on show, particularly near doors, and never leave valuables such as laptops or jewellery on show which can tempt potential burglars. If necessary, get a safe professionally specified and installed.
By taking some simple security measures, you can ensure your property isn’t vulnerable to thieves and your possessions are protected from the threat of crime.