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Better Safe than Sorry: How to Secure Your Home

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

Wondering how to protect your home from burglars? Need some home security ideas?

Whether you rent or own your home, security needs to be given priority.

If the interests of safety aren’t reason enough, the security measures you use may reduce the price of the insurance premiums you need to pay. It’s a win-win!

Not sure of the best way to protect your house? Here's some advice on how to secure your home:

Change the locks

There’s no one answer to the question ‘what is the best way to secure your home?’ But, there are a number of things to remember, particularly when you first move into a new house.

Don’t make your home an easy target for unwanted visitors!

As soon as you move into a new home, whether you’re renting or you have just bought it, change the locks. You have no idea who still has keys to the current locks – and you don’t want to risk finding out.

Locks in rental properties

As a tenant, it is your right to live peacefully and safely – and that means securely – in the accommodation you rent.

If your tenancy agreement forbids you from changing the locks, ask your landlord for permission to do so.

Should your landlord refuse, point out the importance of changing the locks between each tenancy and how it helps secure a home:

  • Not changing locks can invalidate insurance
  • Changing the locks avoids the risk of someone else potentially having a key, such as a previous tenant who could have had the key copied
  • If it’s an older property, changing the locks is a good idea as most insurance companies state that keys must conform to British Standard 3621:2004

It’s important not to simply change the locks without permission, as your landlord is allowed access rights and therefore needs a spare key. But, if you’re wondering how to make your house secure, changing the locks should always be the first step.

Your front door is the first line of defence

Your front door is the gateway to your home, as 34% of burglars get into a property through the front door.

It goes without saying that your front door should be locked at all times, but sometimes, this just isn’t enough. Also, never be tempted to leave your keys under any nearby plant pots!

How to make your doors more secure

You may want your front door to be welcoming for invited guests, but aesthetics aren’t everything when it comes to securing your home from burglars.

Pay particular attention to the following features on how to protect your home:

  • Glass panes are vulnerable, of course, so consider laminated glass or the use of a specialist security film
  • Consult a locksmith – preferably a member of the Master Locksmiths Association – to check the locks and hinges and to confirm that your front door is made of solid timber or a sturdy composite
  • Door bars add extra strength and will delay anyone trying to prise open the door or kick it down. This is a cheap security system!
  • Fit both Yale and double-action mortice locks to the door – and remember to use them both. A double-locking nightlatch may also give greater security and peace of mind
  • If there’s a letterbox let on your front door, install a guard on the back of the door to prevent anyone reaching in or trying to hook out nearby purses, mobile phones or car keys. This is one of the best home security tips, as it’s easy to forget about the letterbox!
  • Finally, fit a lock guard, which protects the keyhole and prevents anyone from tampering with it

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these are some great tips to protect your house from burglars. It’s important to keep your home safe at all times!

Consider window access

If you want to protect your home, consider all areas of access. Put yourself in the mind of someone looking to break in!

After the external doors, windows are the next most vulnerable potential entry points. So, replace any latches with key-operated lever window locks.

If you want to spend a little more on upgrading your home security, consider fitting window alarms, which are triggered whenever the opening is disturbed.

Double glazed windows will also give an intruder a harder time breaking into your home!

Install burglar alarms

When it comes to how to secure your house from a break in, many homeowners’ first step is to install a burglar alarm.

All manner of burglar and intruder alarms are available. Some are more elaborate than others and cost somewhat more, but even a straightforward basic system may be enough to deter the common, opportunist thief.

You can even buy “dummy” external alarm boxes to mount outside your home to deter burglars.

If you’re not sure which are the most secure, The Consumers’ Association’s Which? magazine publishes regular reviews of the leading burglar alarm systems.

Use exterior lights

When it comes to home security advice, dark areas give burglars less chance of being noticed. Lights avoid this problem!

Motion-sensing lights at strategic points around the outside of your home are likely to have a strong deterrent effect and deter those determined to break into your house.

You may think that one of the top home security tips are hugely expensive. But you’d be wrong! Many exterior lights are modestly priced, easy to install and available at most local DIY or hardware shop.

Try to find those with adjustable sensitivity, so that your household pet or garden wildlife does not trigger the lighting system too readily – but take comfort in the fact that very few burglars are prepared to ply their trade under the glare of halogen headlights.

Ensure there are no hiding places

Not sure how to secure your home? Give a burglar no place to hide! This is one of the most easily forgotten home security tips.

As well as lighting up the outside of your home, try to do away with any potential hiding places – such as large trees or overgrown bushes which intruders might use as cover. It’s better to keep any plants near the house as low-growing as possible.

Securing your house from burglars can be tough, but there are ways to make a break in near-impossible for a criminal. Never cut corners when it comes to home safety!

Security cameras

Many people see security cameras as an expensive, unnecessary feature. But, can you put a price tag on safety?

Despite this, you don’t have to break the bank! Sometimes, just the sight of a security camera is enough to deter a potential intruder.

Cameras are also great for peace of mind, helping you to sleep a little easier at night.

Sometimes, when it comes to securing your home, it helps to know crime rate statistics in your area. You can find this information out, plus a lot more about your neighbourhood, in a property report. Get your full report here!

 

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