As safe as houses: home security

12 October 2018

a silver chain lock on a wooden door

October is National Home Security Month and with the clocks going back on 28 October, now is the ideal time to make sure your home is safe and secure.

According to the Office for National Statistics Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) there were an estimated 697,000 incidents of domestic burglary in the year to March 2018. The end of British Summer Time heralds a peak period for burglaries, with 70% occurring on a week day and 60% carried out between 6pm and 6am. It’s therefore more important than ever to consider your home security as the nights draw in.

NHBC, the UK’s leading warranty provider for new homes, is offering all home owners some advice on how to secure your property this autumn:

  1. Lights on

As the afternoons are getting dark and the absence of lights on in the home can alert burglars to an empty property, consider using a timer or a smartphone-controlled device to turn your lights on when the sun is starting to set. Also leaving the lights on when you go out in the evening (not just the hall or landing lights), coupled with keeping the radio on, will create the illusion that someone is home.

  1. Lock doors and windows

Doors are the entry point in 70% of burglaries. New homes come with enhanced security features as standard – including robust window and door locks – but whatever the age of your home, make sure you lock doors and windows when leaving the house or going to bed. Don’t forget to check your sliding back doors either. These should be secured by a multi-point locking system and have an anti-lift device fitted so that doors cannot be lifted from their frame from the outside.

  1. Alarms

Install an alarm as a visual deterrent. An alarm on its own will not prevent entry to your home but will deter opportunist burglars as it’s likely to be part of a suite of home security measures.

  1. Hide keys

Keep all of your keys, including car keys, away from the front door and out of sight. It’s common for keys to be stolen using a device to hook them through your letter box. If you need to leave a spare key out for those forgetful family members, think about getting a secure lock box mounted to a wall rather than leaving them under the flower pot!

  1. Secure outside

You’ve now made sure your home is as secure as possible, but don’t forget to check outside too. Keep sheds, garages and gates locked, repair broken fences and cut back overgrown hedges. Consider installing a security light that switches on after dark when someone is nearby; it’s highly effective in deterring potential intruders.

  1. And finally…

Be secure, but also be safe. Some doors can be locked from the inside. If that’s the case with yours, and it’s locked using a key, make sure you have a spare key in a convenient place nearby, so that you can get out quickly in an emergency. Newer houses are fitted with locks on the front door which have a thumb turn on the inside to provide a quick escape without the use of a key.

Neil Smith, NHBC Head of Standards, Innovation and Research, said:

“There are a number of simple steps people can take to ensure they don’t fall victim to this disturbing crime. From burglar alarms to security lights, these measures can improve home security and offer residents peace of mind in helping to make sure their homes and belongings are well protected.

“People, who live in newer properties, may already have security locks, burglar alarms and security lighting included as standard. But there are also a number of simple measures people can take to keep their homes and property safe from burglars.”