Domestic burglaries and personal theft claims have soared to £415 million; this is the highest it has been in nearly a decade.  Households have made 5,000 more burglary claims in 2011 than in the previous 12 months after three years of falling break-ins, according to data from the Association of British Insurers, reported by The Sunday Telegraph.

A burglary in your own home can be a distressing and upsetting experience for the whole family.  However, many homes are at risk to break-ins due to a lack of security.  By checking your current security and making a few simple changes you could help prevent being a victim of crime and protect your property and possessions.

Security Gates
Having automated security gates like the ones at Portcullis can really help secure your property, as well as making your plot look grand and stylish.

Automated gates have irreversibly geared motors which make it very difficult for a thief to force them open. For extra security, a maglock can be added to the gate, this is an electromagnet which is powered when the gate is shut. They can exert a force of 500kg or more, which can make it even tougher to force the gate open. As automated gates are so notoriously tough to force open they act as a deterrent to burglars. This effect can be increased with the addition of spikes placed on top of the automated gates.

Windows
One third of burglars enter a property through a window, so it is crucial that any opening window that is larger than a human head, is fitted with a good quality lock.  Locks that are visible from the outside of the property can be an extra deterrent as the thief can see they are dealing with a protected home and can risk attracting too much attention to themselves if they break the glass.   Further security can be given by fitting a device which prevents the window from opening beyond a certain point, this will reduce the risk of intruders breaking in when the property is occupied

When looking to replace ground floor and accessible windows, they should be made and fitted to BS 7950: 1997, the British Standard for enhanced window security. They should also have laminated glass in the outer pane of the double glazed units, these windows should not need additional security devices adding to them.

Doors
Making sure you check that your doors are in good condition is a key area where you can improve your house’s safety.  It is also a good idea to upgrade front and back doors with locks that conform to British Standard BS3621 kitemark and be fitted 45 to 60 cm away from the Yale, or rim, lock.

All external doors should have at least 3 locking points, and using Mortice locks can add substantial strength to your doors, which are available at DIY stores.  If you have deadlocks fitted on your doors, it’s a good idea to use them as it can make it tricky for thieves to get out again.

If you have uPVC doors, make sure they come fitted with good locks.  There have been increased break-ins where cheap Euro Profile locks have been forced open, burglars use a simple tool to smash or snap the lock in a technique widely used by criminals, which makes them an easy target.

Burglar Alarm System
Having an alarm fitted to your house can be a big visual deterrent for burglars.  Burglar alarms are usually placed on doors, windows and garages and other places where someone might gain entry to your home.  There is a large range of options available if you want to fit an alarm system, so it could be helpful for you to seek advice from a security company that is accredited with the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or the Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB).

Security Lights
Outdoor lighting can be a simple deterrent for thieves in the hours of dark, as they don’t want to be exposed when trying to approach a property.  You can fit low wattage lighting in key areas (above doors, near gardens), different types can come on automatically at dusk and go off at dawn or motion activated which can detect movement in its vicinity.

Securing your Garden
It sounds very simple, but strategically placed prickly shrubs and hedges can be off-putting for burglars.  Locating these plants near walls, windows and fences can make it difficult for thieves to climb through or over things.  The kind of plants you could use are: Common Hawthorn (Crataegus Monogyna), Common Gorse (Ulex Europaeus), Rose, Holly, Pampas Grass, and Pyracantha.  Also, adding gravel to your driveway or garden path can be a low cost way to deter a burglar because it is so noisy – the sound of someone walking on gravel at night will carry very well and could easily wake someone or a family dog.

Content Supplied by Portcullis Gate Automation

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