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Security in your home

Most burglars are opportunists and they will look for unlocked doors or opened windows to get in.

Securing your doors and windows

Two-thirds of burglars gain entry through a door and one third get in through a window. Fitting your doors and windows with good locks can go a long way to deterring them.

Fit your front door with the following:

  • An automatic rim latch lock (also called a nightlatch). These can be opened from the inside without a key.
  • A five-lever mortice deadlock with kitemark BS3621.
  • A letter-box cage to prevent thieves tampering with locks through the letter box.
  • Fit your back door with a five-lever mortice deadlock. Fit both sides of French doors with a security mortice lock and mortice bolt, and get advice on fitting locks to patio doors.

Make outside doors stronger by:

  • fitting hinge bolts for extra security
  • replacing glass panels with laminated glass to make them more difficult to break (or buy special film to stick on that will have the same effect)
  • fitting a peephole and security chain to your front door.
  • Fit window locks with keys to all your downstairs windows and any others that are easy to reach. Keep window keys in a safe place, out of sight and reach. Keep them close to the window so that you can find them easily if you needed to escape in the event of fire, but not on the windowsill.

It is best to get locks and bolts fitted by a qualified locksmith - check whether the locksmith is a member of the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) by using the guide on their website.

Most of our local Age UKs run a handyperson scheme to provide and fit locks and spy holes.

Locking up

Most burglars are opportunists and they will look for unlocked doors or opened windows to get in.

  • Lock all outside doors and check all your windows are locked. Even if you're just popping out for a few minutes, lock up fully before you go.
  • If you have a carer or relative with their own key, make sure they securely fasten your door on their way out.
  • Keep your ladder and garden tools locked away.
  • Keep your keys, including your car keys, in a safe place. Don't leave them in the locks or lying around the house. Remember, the first places a burglar will look for your door key is under the doormat, in a flower-pot or on a piece of string through the letter box.
  • Keep valuables out of sight.
  • Leave a front room light on if you go out for the evening and consider leaving the radio on. Draw the curtains, leaving a gap at the top so the light can be seen from outside.

For more advice on keeping your home secure, contact your local Safer Neighbourhood team at your nearest police station or check to see whether your regional police force has security tips on its website.

Security devices

  • Outdoor lighting not only acts as a deterrent, but also makes it easier to find your way if you're coming or going after dark. You can install a low-level light that automatically switches on from dusk until dawn. Or you can get a light that switches on when it senses movement outside your home.
  • Visible burglar alarms will deter opportunist burglars and increase the security of your home.

If you're considering installing a burglar alarm:

  • ask the Safer Neighbourhood team at your nearest police station for advice
  • get at least three quotes and specialist advice from alarm companies
  • ask your insurance company which alarm companies it recommends
  • get professional help to install the alarm. There are schemes all over the UK offering home security services. Some home improvement agencies offer free services to improve security.

Your valuables

Think about marking your possessions with your postcode and the number of your house or flat. This deters burglars because it makes stolen property harder to sell. Ask your local Neighbourhood Watch or the Safer Neighbourhood team at your local police station for help with this.

You can register your valuable possessions for free at www.immobilise.com. This website helps police identify owners of lost or stolen property.

If you go away

Keep your home safe if you're going to be away for a longer time:

  • Cancel your regular deliveries (if a burgler sees parcels or newspapers on your doorstep, it's easier to tell that you're away.
  • Don't close curtains or blinds, as they are a giveaway during the day.
  • Plug a lamp into a time switch that will automatically turn on in the evenings while you're away. But don't leave it in a room that passers-by can see into when the light is on.
  • Ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your home for you.
  • Check your building and contents insurance is up to date. 

 

Further information

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For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081

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