If your doors and windows are not secure, neither is your property. Two-thirds of burglars enter through a door. Windows are also a popular point of entry for burglars.
The official Police security initiative, Secured By Design, recommends that the main focus of home security should be doors, locks and windows.
A recent survey by The Eco Experts revealed many homeowners make it easier for burglars by making basic mistakes.
- Over half (54.0%) of respondents admitting they have gone out and accidently left their front door unlocked
- Almost two thirds (59.8%) have accidently left a window open overnight
- 1 in 5 (20.2%) confessed to accidentally leaving a window open while they were on holiday
Burglars are opportunists. Poor door or window security is an opportunity for burglars. Follow our top window, door and general home security tips to make your house more secure.
Window Security Tips
Replace single glazing or old double glazing
Single glazed windows, especially on the ground floor and other accessible areas, are vulnerable to attack by burglars. Old double glazed windows may also be insecure if they don’t meet modern security standards.
Ensure new windows are approved by Secured By Design (SBD)
When installing new windows, ensure the windows have been approved by Secured By Design (SBD), the official police initiative. The SBD approve windows which they have tested and pass their security checks. Learn more about the best windows.
Consider windows with a night vent position
On warm nights it can be tempting to leave windows open. However an open window can leave your home vulnerable to a break-in, providing an easy point of entry for burglars. Windows with night vents provide a consistent supply of ventilation without compromising your home security.
Ensure windows are securely beaded
The police recommend windows with internal beading. Windows with external beading can be vulnerable as glass can be removed from the outside if the glass is not adhered to the frame.
Don’t leave keys in locks
Leaving keys in your windows can risk invalidating your home insurance and can make it easier for burglars to gain entry into your home.
Don’t retrofit locks
It is typically not possible to retrofit any extra locks to UPVC windows. Double glazed window locking systems should be fitted at time of manufacture.
Check windows are shut before leaving or going to bed
It sounds simple, but an alarming amount of people accidently leave ground floor windows open overnight after forgetting to shut them before going to bed. Some people find it useful to leave a note reminding them to check their windows and doors are shut before leaving their home or going to bed.
Door Security Tips
If you buy a new door, get the full ‘door set’
When replacing your door, buy a new “door set”, the complete assembled frame and door, certified to British Standard PAS 24-1 ‘Doors of Enhanced Security’.
Know who has keys or replace locks
If you move into a new home, change the door locks immediately – other people may have copies of the keys. Use a reputable locksmith from the Master Locksmiths Association.
Know how to lock a multi-point locking door
Thousands of unnecessary burglaries take place each year because people either forget or do not know how to properly lock a multi-point locking door. You should ensure you and all people living in your home know how to lock a multi-point door properly – check out this guide if you are unsure.
Fit five-lever mortise deadlocks
Fit five-lever mortise deadlocks (British Standard BS3621) to all external doors.
Wooden doors should be at least 44mm thick
Wooden doors are considered insecure if they are under 44mm thick.
If fitting locks to doors, ensure it does not invalidate your warranty
Before fitting locks to PVC-U or metal doors, check with the installer to make sure that this will not affect your warranty.
Letterbox cage or other restrictor
Consider fitting a cage or other restrictor on your door’s letterbox to prevent burglars from putting their hands or tools through the letterbox. If fitting an external letterbox make sure it is tested to TS009:2012.
General Home Security Tips
Make home visible
Trim back any hedges or plants that a burglar could hide behind. Make sure passers-by can see the front of your home so burglars can’t work without being seen.
Make your home look occupied when you are out
Most burglaries happen when a house is empty. They are also more likely to happen in the evening or at night. Don’t leave your curtains closed during the daytime as this shows the house is empty. Use automatic timer switches to turn lights on when it goes dark. They can also turn on radios and other appliances when you’re out.
Strong fencing and gates
Prevent intruders getting to the back and sides of your home by installing strong fencing or gates. Ensure that side access to the rear garden is secured with a minimum 2 metre high fence and gate. You can fix trellis topping to your fence as it makes climbing difficult.
Install a burglar alarm
Burglar alarms are a good deterrent and a means of summoning help if a burglar breaks into your home. For obvious reasons, burglars prefer to target homes without burglar alarms.
Consider using property marking to protect your valuable items. Property marking makes your belongings less attractive to thieves as they realise that the items can be easily identified as stolen and traced back to the original owner. There are many ways to mark property; including UV marking and forensically coded systems such a SmartWater.
Take necessary precautions if you are going away
It sounds obvious, but don’t forget to lock all external doors and windows. You will also want to keep all valuables out of sight and cancel any regular deliveries that will make it obvious you are away. Do not put your home address on luggage labels; use a business address instead. Avoid posting on social media that you are going on holiday. Ask a trusted neighbour or a friend to look after your house (collecting mail, turning lights on, closing/opening curtains etc.)