GUIDE TO HOME SECURITY
Before you have finished reading this article at least two more homes somewhere in the country will have been entered by a burglar. One of them may even be in your own road. The simple fact is that burglaries are on the increase, by day or night, with one taking place on average every 30 seconds.
The effects of a burglary can be devastating. Apart from the loss of prized or valuable possessions, considerable damage can be done to the property, yet the majority of homeowners take few precautions, if any, to protect their homes, making entry easy for any opportunist thief passing by.
That thief is on the lookout for an empty house - it need only be empty for a short amount of time perhaps while you are out shopping or visiting a neighbour. You might even be just out in the garden. He is looking for quick and easy ways in and easy ways out again.
Now consider your own home. If you locked yourself out could you get back in again easily? Do you know of a window that has a loose catch that can be knocked open from the outside? Or a door that has a weak lock and opens under shoulder pressure? Or where there are some ladders you can use to reach an open upstairs window? If you can get back into your own house without keys, so can a burglar and he won’t mind if he does some damage in the process.
Remember too that the back of your house is more at risk than the front.
Approximately 60% of burglars break in from the back of a property where they are less conspicuous and can therefore work at ease. Many burglaries also occur in the day when noises such as breaking glass attract less attention than at night time.
Home security is all about making life as difficult and risky as possible for the potential burglar. Your house needs to appear as unattractive as possible to him. He must be made to believe that there might just be someone at home. He needs to be made aware that you, the homeowner, have taken steps to make life difficult for him. He needs to be made to feel so unsure that he will go elsewhere. It is not difficult or expensive to achieve this.
Anything which delays him will deter him and the best deterrents are quality locks fitted to all the vulnerable entry and access points.
Door and window locks will deter many casual thieves who are looking for a quick and profitable opportunity.
At night good approach lighting is also worthwhile so that your house is well illuminated, making a burglar very conspicuous. This is best achieved using exterior
Passive Infra Red Sensors - PIRs - controlling floodlights.
Another deterrent - especially for the more determined burglar - is a complete
Burglar Alarm system installed in the house and made obvious by the siren housing sited on the house wall.
Diagram A shows most of the risk areas around a house and some of the ‘aids’. which can help a burglar.
Gates, Sheds and Fences
Your first line of defence is outside the house. If you have a side gate, particularly one leading to a secluded passageway at the side of the house where an intruder could work on a window or the back door unseen, fit a security hasp and staple and padlock, or padbolt and padlock, to it on the inside.
Put padlocks on garage doors and outside sheds too.
Don’t leave garden tools lying around. A burglar would welcome a spade to assist him in gaining access to the house. Make sure that ladders are locked away safely. Even stepladders can help a burglar get onto a flat roof and, from there, into the house through an upstairs window.
All ground floor windows, plus upstairs windows which would be reached from a flat roof or a climbable drainpipe are at risk. A burglar will happily break a window but in doing so his intention is to put a hand in and open the window completely. He does not want to climb in through broken glass or dive out again through it to escape. He wants a clear, safe entry and exit. If however, all opening windows at risk are fitted with key operated locks he will not be able to undo them as easily.
The Wickes range of window locks is wide. Every type of window - wood or metal, sliding or hinged - can be fitted with a secure lock, operated by one type of key or another. In all cases the key is removable. However you must ensure that your family and any other people in your home know where the keys are kept in case of an emergency such as fire where several escape routes may be needed.
NEVER leave the keys in the locks or lying around where an intruder can find them. Wickes window locks are supplied with full fitting instructions.
A few are shown here. Diagrams B, C, D and E.
Given the chance any burglar will try to gain entry through a door, either by attempting to force it or by breaking glass to reach in and undo the lock.
Whatever method he does use to get into the house he will want to have a door open to remove large items and to give himself another escape route. For these reasons all external doors must be fitted with key operated locks and rack bolts as well where possible.
Front doors should be fitted with a 5 lever Mortice Deadlock certified to BS 3621 and bearing the Kitemark. This type of lock is set into the door stile about half way up, with the lock shoot operated by key only, engaging in a metal box - the keep - on the door jamb. There is no latch or handle to this type of lock. It should be locked every time you go out and leave the house unattended.
DO NOT lock it at night when the house is occupied. You may need to get out of the front door in a hurry in the event of a fire and hunting for the key will delay you. It is normal to fit a cylinder rim night latch as well to the front door and this is the one that is locked at night. It is unlocked only by turning the knob or handle.
Additionally front door security should include a door chain which should only be doors should be fitted with security mortice rack bolts near the top and bottom. If this is not possible surface mounted security pressbolts can be used. These provide additional security against the door being forced open. If a door opens outwards with the hinge pivot pin accessible to a determined burglar, fit hinge bolts to the hinge stile of the door. Even if the burglar removes the pivot pins he still cannot lift the door out of the frame.
French doors and double doors should also be fitted with rack bolts at the top and bottom of each door operating into the head and sill of the door frame. Although modern patio doors are normally fitted with one good central lock, they are still easily forced open. Special patio door locks should be fitted at the top and bottom of the doors to prevent them being slid along or lifted off their runners and removed if the main lock is forced.
Other hints and tips
Relatively few burglars will attempt to get into a house which obviously has the owners at home, so do try to create this impression at all times. If you are out for the evening, draw the curtains and leave an upstairs light on - a bedside light perhaps.
If away for several days, get a neighbour to check the house daily to ensure that letters, leaflets, etc., aren’t left by the letterbox - an obvious sign that you are away. To make the house look occupied, buy
time clocks and light adaptors that will automatically turn lights and perhaps a radio on at predetermined times.
Time clocks work by plugging the light or appliance into the time clock then plugging this
time clock into a standard 13 amp socket.
The light/appliance will then turn on at the times you set the clock to. You can choose from a daily timer which will mean that your light will come on at the same time every day or a weekly timer whereby you can programme your light to turn on at different times each day of the week.
The weekly timer is also available with a digital clock which can be programmed accurate to the minute.
Light adaptors are devices which are designed to either make a standard light fitting turn on automatically between dusk and dawn, or at random times.
Make a note of the serial numbers of appliances you own, and mark these appliances (TV, Hi-Fi, etc.) with your name, postcode and house number using a special UV pen which can only be read under a UV light. It is also a good idea to photograph all valuable items for identification.
Don’t lock internal doors when you are out. A burglar will force them open and create some damage in the process. Your home is not only at risk from burglars. Fire can also be a devastating disaster. Fitting smoke alarms can give earlier warnings of fire, making it easier to escape and may also reduce the amount
DON’T leave the house empty for even a short time without securing it completely.
DON’T leave keys in the locks or lying around - certainly not under mats.
DO make life as risky as possible for the burglar.
DO become security conscious and protect your home and possessions.
Part 2 - Wickes Security
Other pages on home
security tips - how to beat the burglar.
security - basic precautions.
Video tips – DIY & Home Improvement
including how to lay a real wood floor, how to replace a
kitchen worktop and how to tile a wall.
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Wickes products will inevitably change from time to time and the customer is advised to check that the design, descriptions, specifications and techniques of constructing any of the products described in this
article are still valid at the time of purchase or placing an order.
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