Did you know that October is National Home Security Month? It’s well-timed, of course, because the longer nights are giving a cloak of darkness to those who would enter your home, steal your things, or cause untold damage.
Even more to the point, perhaps, do you know how secure is your own home?
UK Police explain the opportunism of thieves and burglars likely to be keeping an eye on your house or flat. They are ever watchful for the slightest opportunity to make their entry – through a window or door that has been left ajar, for instance, or one that can be forced open.
Burglars and thieves are unlikely to need much in the way of encouragement – whatever they might spot by just looking through the window is likely to prove an open invitation.
Here is a list of established facts about burglars – how they are likely to behave and what motivates them:
- their first aim is to establish whether any particular home is likely to have valuables inside – one of the biggest giveaways might be the packaging from some expensive item you have left outside with the rubbish;
- alternatively, they can get a pretty good idea of what’s likely to be found in the rest of the house just by looking through one of the windows – and if an entry can be made through that window or any door that has been left unlocked, then, so much the better;
- you won’t be aware of it, but it doesn’t take a burglar that long to discover your routines – when you leave the house on those school runs or if you’re packing the car to go off on holiday, for example;
- the fewer people who can see or overhear them, the better from a burglar’s point of view – so hidden behind tall hedges, access to a back garden or the cover of darkness are all to the good for your opportunistic intruder, who wants to avoid being spotted by a passer-by or your neighbour;
- don’t advertise your ownership of an expensive car or flashy bike but put them away in the garage when they’re not in use – it keeps them safer and keeps out the thief who enters your home looking for the keys;
- the garage or shed in which you put them away must also be securely locked, of course, since they may also be where tools and ladders can be found that are handy for breaking and entering;
- thieves seem to hold themselves above the rule of once bitten twice shy and instead return to a home they’ve already burgled before – especially if that first visit resulted in no special attempt to make the premises more secure.
Making your home more secure
Although that might seem to be a daunting list of risks, the precautions and deterrence are relatively simple, straight forward, and largely a matter of common-sense. The Master Locksmiths’ Association (MLA) has some tips and suggestions:
- there is an appropriate lock for every door (external and internal) and window in your home – are you using the right ones;
- for all external doors, the MLA recommends that locks meeting British Standard BS3621 are fitted;
- your French windows are external doors, of course, and need to be fitted with bolts top and bottom, together with a lock cylinder conforming to SS312 Diamond (or at least 3* Kitemark);
- the traditional spyglass and door chain across your front door can now be replaced simply with an easily installed digital viewer – or even an audio-visual intercom – so that you can see exactly who is calling before you open the door;
- technology has come to the aid of home security in a big way thanks to the different, affordable, remotely controlled CCTV systems now on the market;
- by fitting a letterbox guard, you can prevent the crafty burglar from “fishing” through the opening in your front door when trying to manipulate the locks or move the bolts;
- a burglar alarm system is a well-proven, tried and tested way of discouraging burglars – but remember to change the code every once in a while to make the most of what is likely to have been a relatively expensive safeguard to install;
- movement-detecting lighting above your front and back door whisks away the cloak of darkness from any burglar – who is then likely to move on to another property – while also helping to light the way home if you arrive after dark;
- timer switches installed at various places inside your house can be set to light up rooms and give the impression that someone is home – even when they’re not.
Let National Home Security Month give you occasion to pause and consider whether the security of your own home is truly up to the mark.