Keep burglars at bay this winter

Dark winter nights are the perfect cover for burglars and thieves.

Burglar breaking in to a door

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That’s why household names such as Yale, B&Q and Homebase have joined forces with keycutters Timpson and the charity Victim Support to offer advice on making your home more secure as part of National Home Security Month.

The campaign covers four areas:

- Door and window security

- Protecting valuables

- Outdoor security

- Home security of the future

Here’s our round up of the top tips in each section…

Door and window security

Doors and windows are the most obvious point of entry for burglars. That’s why it pays to…

- Lock your windows

It’s vital to ensure all windows are fitted with at least one lock – check your home insurance policy to ensure you locks match the insurer’s specifications.

And make sure you use the locks. Failing to do so could invalidate your cover, especially if you’ve been given a discount on the premium for installing them.

- Strengthen your door locks

External timber doors should be secured using a mortice lock and/or nightlatch that meets British Standard BS3621.

PVCu or composite doors should have British Standard Kitemark TS007 cylinders in the multipoint locks.

Again, locks should be used to avoid risk of your insurance being invalidated.

- Check who’s at the door

Fit a door chain and spy hole or digital door viewer to external doors and get into the habit of using the viewer to check who is there. Make sure the chain is engaged before opening the door.

Protecting valuables

To keep thieves at bay you should…

- Fit an alarm

Six in 10 of the burglaries attempted on homes with alarms are unsuccessful, so it’s sensible to have a working burglar alarm.

Alarms put potential burglars off and will also alert your neighbours in the event of a break-in.

Always have your alarm installed professionally. Your insurance company will usually specify that the installer is certified by National Security Inspectorate or SSAIB. If you receive a premium discount for having an alarm but it wasn’t fitted in line with the policy’s requirements or doesn’t meet its specifications, any claim you make could be invalidated.

This is often a requirement of insurance policies where a premium discount has been given.

- Be fraud-aware

Fraudsters step up their activity around Christmas, when shopping trips, social events and internet purchases make it harder to keep track of your cash. Check your current account and credit card statements regularly for any suspicious transactions, and keep your gift receipts safe.

- Get a safe

A home safe that’s bolted securely to the floor or wall is a great place to store small valuables such as jewellery and electronics, as well as important documents like passports.

If you own a lot of jewellery, for example, your insurer might require that you keep it in a safe.

It’s also a good idea to mark your valuables with an indelible ink or ultra-violet security marker and keep a list of the serial numbers of high value items.

If you have something of great financial and/or sentimental value, you could consider paying to store it in a bank vault.

Remember – insurance will only reimburse the financial value of an item that is stolen. It won’t take account of sentimental attachment.

Outdoor security

Even if thieves can’t get into your home, they can often find items of value outside. That’s why it’s sensible to…

- Secure outbuildings

It’s easy to forget about securing sheds and garages. But it’s just as easy to fit a weatherproof padlock to deter would-be thieves.

Anchor locks and cables can also be used to protect individual items such as bikes. If you bike is stolen from your garden, your insurance might refuse to pay if it was not locked and secured to a fixed post or other structure.

- Get an alarm for your caravan/motorhome

Caravans and motorhomes are very attractive to thieves – especially as they are often left unattended. So invest in a battery-powered alarm. And display a sticker telling potential thieves one is fitted.

You should also invest in an anchor so that your vehicle is effectively immovable.

Home security of the future

Here are some of the latest gizmos designed to help us defeat burglars and thieves. …

- Digital door viewers

These mean you can see who is at the door without going near the door or alerting the person or people outside to your presence. They are perfect for elderly people and children – and anyone keen to avoid unwanted visitors.

- Digital door locks

These allow you to access and secure your home using a PIN code, which means you no longer have to worry about carrying or losing your keys.

You can also create a temporary code to give other people access to your home when necessary. You might have encountered one if you’ve ever rented holiday accommodation.

- Home security apps

The Yale Crime Watcher app displays burglary statistics within a one-mile radius of your home, over the last month.

There are stacks more tips in Mark’s article on how to harness tech to protect your home.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

 

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