Some Practical Tips and Recommendations Relating to Home Security
- One of the likely frustrations of a house break-in is that key documents may be stolen and create a lot of hassle in replacing them; Ensure that external access doors (front, rear and side doors) are fitted with adequate locks. The 5 lever type locks offer best security. The front door or primary opening door should have a safety chain or safety latch and, if the door has no vision panel, a door viewer. If the keys to these doors are mislaid, those locks should be replaced promptly.
- Fit suitable “spacers”, locks or bolts to all sliding doors to prevent them from being lifted off their tracks (this is one of the most common method used by burglars on sliding doors and windows and can be easily prevented).
- Ensure all windows are fitted with adequate locks or burglar bars or suitable defence systems that cover all glass.
- Ensure that all duplicate keys are locked away if not in use. Do not leave in doors or make unnecessary copies.
- If you are a gun holder, install a safe for weapons and valuables ideally make sure these are fireproof. Duplicate house keys could be kept in this safe.
- Keep the garage and tool shed locked when not in use. Would–be intruders should not have access to any item that can be used as a weapon or burglary tool so tidy up when working outside and make sure all garden tools are securely put away.
- Install outside lights that can be remotely controlled from inside the house. Consider installing lighting outside which is activated by a motion detector and or tracks movement, as lighting helps to suppress unwanted interest.
- Try not to have high walls and overgrown hedges that obscure your view of the property. If walls and ledges are low, or have suitable openings, neighbours and passers-by will more easily be able to spot suspicious or unusual activity.
- Clip and contain any dense foliage near the garage entrance and front door to reduce the possibility of those spots being used as a hiding place.
When at Home:
- Always lock external doors and close windows that are far away from where the family activity is centered.
- At night always lock perimeter doors and securely fasten windows. When retiring to bed, lock inter-leading doors of those rooms that are not occupied.
- Do not leave curtains open at night as this allows observation into the house.
- If disturbed or an alarm is sounded, do not go outside alone to investigate at night. Rather switch off all internal lights and open curtains to allow you to see what is occurring outside, once eyes have become accustomed to the dark or switch on external lights to help.
- Do not open any external door without satisfactory identification from the visitor. If in any doubt, do not open the door and consider summoning the police or your security service provider.
- Never admit to a stranger that you are alone.
- If a repair-person is expected, do not allow entry unless identity has been checked through a vision panel or door viewer and with the company concerned.
- Do not allow strangers into your home to make telephone calls. Rather offer to make the telephone calls for them while they wait outside.
- If you note suspicious vehicles, individuals or groups in your neighbourhood, contact the police or your security service provider.
When Away From Home:
- Do not leave notes on the door, underneath the carpet or in the post box to indicate that you are away.
- Do not leave hidden keys.
- Leave your house key with a trusted neighbour or the key holder (as registered with your Security Service Provider) so that access can be gained in an emergency.
- Do not leave only the outside lights on as this is usually an indication to would-be intruders that the house is not occupied.
- Leave lights on and the radio playing as this gives the impression that the house is occupied.
- Do not allow papers to build up in the post box, arrange for them to be collected.
- Avoid any social media commentary about where you are until you have returned.
If Confronted By an Intruder:
- Try to escape, and or sound the alarm if possible.
- If you cannot escape, try to lock yourself in a secure room.
- Remain calm and if possible contact the police and or security service provider.
- Co-operate with the intruder.
- Be observant and take particular notice of any voice, dress or behavioural traits.
- Only shout for help or scream to avoid serious assault.
- If the intruder tries to leave, do not hinder or apprehend him.
- Do not follow the intruder outside. Close and lock the doors immediately and call for help by activating the home alarm system.
Please contact Ghost for clarification or any assistance, alarm checks and advice.
As we start the new year (2014) we thought a few common sense suggestions may be welcome in case you are considering reviewing the safety and security of your home.
1. Start by reviewing the exterior of your property to make sure there are no broken windows or access to your property through garages or conservatories. Lock any tools and items such as ladders away
2. Ask a vetted, inspected and qualified locksmith to review your doors and windows (including internal doors to conservatories and garages) to make sure all of your windows and doors have the most appropriate locks, they are in good condition, properly fitted and meet your insurance requirements
3. Opportunist thieves can often approach houses that look like nobody is at home so consider installing a number of light timers around the house so it appears someone is home
4. Dusk to dawn or sensor lighting to the front and back door of your home will deter potential thieves and help you gain entry into your home in the dark
5. Alarms can be very effective but you need to change the code regularly to gain maximum benefit from them
6. Side windows in a house can be smashed to reach keys and gain entry so consider adding reinforced glass or maybe even block up the window. Decorative grilles and bars can also vastly improve the security of a home without being detrimental to the aesthetics
7. Home safes are becoming increasingly popular too, so you may want to consider asking a specialist locksmith to specify and install one
8. You may also want to install top and bottom bolts on French doors or add sash jammers to UPVC doors
9. While you are reviewing your security it is also worth considering when your keys were last replaced, whether past owners or tenants may still have access to your home and whether anyone may have made copies of your keys without your knowledge. If you are worried ask a professional locksmith to change your locks and fit a patented system, whereby keys can only be copied with proof of ownership
10. Consider your own influence on the level of security for your home and make sure you don’t indulge bad habits such as leaving keys in locks or in view that you and your family may have. Simple tips such as always setting alarms, changing codes on a frequent basis and locking any side or back gates can make a substantial difference and deter attack
11. Make sure you source a good quality lock to protect your garden shed and its contents, if you have one.
12. Statistics show that thieves are increasingly breaking into homes to steal car keys so don’t make it easy for them by leaving keys in view
Any Publicity is Bad Publicity.
The very first lesson on the very first day of burglary school is: Don’t get caught. The first step to avoiding capture is avoiding detection in the first place (if they can’t see you, they can’t call the police or the security company).
While lots of burglaries take place during the day, darkness is still a great cover. When looking to make your house less of a target, one of the best fixes is lighting, both outdoor and indoor. It’s partly about minimising the appearance of home owner absence inside the house (which burglars look for), and partly about shedding light on would-be intruders outside the house.
Inside, what you need is to establish a routine and stick with it. Lots of burglars will watch a target property to pinpoint vulnerabilities, such as the occupants going out of town or returning to their main home. Purchase a timer and set the lights to go on at a certain time in the morning and off at a certain time at night. That way, it’ll be harder to tell when you’re gone, whether you’re on a trip or just working late.
Outdoors, it’s all about visibility. The area immediately outside your home is the first line of defence. Garden lights (both front and back) are great, but the solar kinds are probably too dim to do much in the way of security. The 120-volt type is better, and should be placed at strategic points such as entries and pathways. Any hiding spots, like clusters of trees or freestanding structures, should also be well-lit. If you’re concerned about light pollution and energy usage, most of these lights can be hooked up to motion detectors so they only go on when they’re needed and set to switch off after a short period of exposure. Many of these lights can be overridden in the house to come on permanently if you want to have a good look around the property.
Here at Ghost security we can offer practical suggestions to assist with your home security and can assist with lighting recommendations as well as other general security measures. Our aim is to help you achieve the best balance between security and freedom of living we all enjoy in our community.