How to burglar-proof your home

How to burglar-proof your home

John, DIYer & IT developer, Brighton

Guide written by:

John, DIYer & IT developer, Brighton

A break-in occurs every 106 seconds in the UK. But there are plenty of ways to deter intruders from protecting your windows and doors, to installing alarms, cameras or tamper-proof locks. Read on to find out how best to protect your home from burglars before you set off on holiday.

Important features

  • Security measures
  • Securing doors and windows
  • Alarms and detectors
  • Other security solutions
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Which homes are most at risk of intrusions?

Home alarm standards

Detached homes with doors or windows that are not overlooked by neighbours or public passageways are the ideal targets for burglars who can take all the time they want to break in and make their way through the home.  

Most burglar deterrents aren't entirely tamper-proof. However, investing in some kind of security system will at least prevent opportunistic or amateur burglars who will generally prefer to approach home whose owners have taken fewer precautions.

Depending on your budget and requirements, you might choose to go for simple measures such as installing a cheap and easy-to-install decoy camera or making your doors or windows more secure. Alternatively, you may want to sign up for a full security system with remote monitoring.

Easy ways to protect your home from intruders

Taking a few simple precautions and investing even a small amount money will make your home just a little trickier to break into. Even the most basic of measures can throw off a potential burglar and create the illusion that your home is well-protected.

Motion sensor lights 

An outdoor light will stop any burglar going undetected. Most burglars prefer to sneak around in the dark – a motion sensor light will soon put an end to that! If you already have an outdoor light connection or an outdoor power source, installation couldn't be easier. Otherwise, you can go for a solar-powered or battery-powered light. These lights may not be as powerful but they don't require any major electrical work to install.

Light timers 

A light timer can be used to programme your lights in advance or activate your lights remotely from a smartphone to make it appear as though you're home. Of course burglars will always prefer to work in an empty house to limit the risk of being caught. Light timers can be a simple, effective and cheap solution!

Fake security stickers and alarms 

The idea of putting up a home security sticker is to make the intruder think that your home has a remote monitoring system in place encouraging them to move on to a location without surveillance. A low-cost option, these stickers can be an effective deterrent.

Dummy cameras 

A dummy camera can be plugged in to the mains or powered by batteries to allow it to turn on lights or even move around. While the camera won't actually record anything, it helps to create the illusion that your home has a CCTV system in place.

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Securing your windows and doors

It goes without saying that your home's weakest points are the doors and windows. Sliding patio doors are particularly easy to force open. It is therefore essential to secure all entry points to make it harder for anyone to break in. Any unprepared or poorly equipped burglar will be put off immediately and you'll increase the chances of a more experienced intruder getting interrupted mid- break-in. In order to enhance security, you can install a few new devices or replace the ones you have.

Tamper-proof front door locks

Tamper-proof locks can be protected against lock-picking, drilling and lock-snapping. The lock mustn't protrude any more than 5 mm from the door to prevent intruders from sliding tools underneath the lock and prising it off. Look out for the British standard BS3621 which sets out the requirements for thief-resistant locks. Similarly, a multipoint locking system won't offer any leverage making it much more of a challenge to break in.

Security strips

Add a security strip along the side and top of the door frame. This will prevent a crowbars from passing through any gaps and applying leverage to the door to pull it away from the lock or off the hinges. These strips should be secured with security screws to prevent them being removed from the outside.

Locking bars 

If you have shutters, it's best to secure them in addition to your windows. A multi-point locking bar cannot be opened from the outside and will make it much harder to pry shutters open with a crowbar. - A larger version of this type of locking bar can also be used to secure sliding, hinged or folding garage doors.

Sliding door locks 

Sliding doors are an easy target for burglars and need to be fitted with special locks. These doors are usually equipped with push locks with one side mounted on the door frame and the other on the door itself. Simply push the lock to secure and use a key to open. These locks come in a range of colours to match to your décor. If you buy a pack of locks, be sure to check that they all use the same key.

Deadbolts 

Installed on a wooden door (like a solid oak door) a deadbolt presents an additional obstacle to any intruder. What's more a deadbolt is inexpensive to buy and easy to install.

Security hinges 

Unlike old-fashioned hinges, security hinges mean intruders can't simply lift off the door leaf if your door is not blocked by the door frame or masonry.

Window bars and security grilles 

Fitting basement or lower ground windows with retractable security grilles is an easy and effective way to enhance security if you don't have shutters. Alternatively, you can go all out with steel bars which are very difficult to saw through. Some window bars are even fitted with a spinning internal bar making it pretty hard work for a saw or angle grinder to get through the material!

Replace old doors

Old, worn-out doors made of weak or thin wood can easily be hacked into with an axe. Replace any vulnerable doors with those made from strong materials such as solid oak or even steel.

Installing a home alarm system

How do burglar alarms work?

Installing an alarm that can be connected to a remote monitoring station or smartphone is the best way to secure your home.

Motion detectors, glass break sensors, and window and door sensors will sound the alarm in the event of a break-in. A hardwired alarm will be less affected by signal interference and won't run out of battery. On the other hand, a wireless alarm is much easier to install. Top off the system with CCTV and your home will be impenetrable. If you go for a remote monitoring service, the operators will be able to see what's going on in real time when alerted to a potential incident. Alternatively, you can watch from your own phone. Furthermore, if the footage is recorded, you can check out what happened after the event which can provide invaluable evidence for the police.

Security inside the home

Install a safe

Even if an intruder has found their way into your home, you can still stop them from getting their hands on your valuables. Place any important documents, jewellery, money and cards in a hidden safe. If possible, build your safe into a wall to make sure it is impossible to pull out. Safes come in all different dimensions depending on the size and value of the objects you want to secure.

Install a motion sensor alarm

A motion sensor alarm installed in the main room of your home or in a hallway is a very effective way to sound the alert in case of an intrusion. The alarm should quickly send burglars fleeing but be sure to make the alarm inaccessible to intruders so they cannot simply turn it off.

Quick tips to protect your home from intruders

3 tips for choosing the right burglar alarm

It's a good idea to think of home security as a chain in which each link needs to be as strong as possible. Start by identifying any weak points. Eliminating these weaknesses is usually easy enough and often comes down to applying a bit of common sense.

An experienced burglar can get through a secured door and deactivate a very sophisticated alarm in a matter of minutes. Don't make their job any easier!

Don't leave any garden tools or ladders lying around as they could come in very handy for an unprepared intruder. If you don't have a basement of garage to store equipment, invest in a garden chest or shed.

Finally make sure to let your neighbours know in advance if you plan to go on holiday or be away for any length of time. They will be the first to notice if something unusual is going on and can quickly sound the alert.

 
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Guide written by:

John, DIYer & IT developer, Brighton

John, DIYer & IT developer, Brighton

Since I was a child, I was always interested in manual and technical work. Always fascinated by woodworking, I took advantage of my first flat as a playground. On the cards: electricity (of course, safety first!) and some partition walls; but also decorating with the help of the missus, made-to-measure furniture and little tricks to optimise the space, all the while remaining as original as possible. When the little one arrived, I started building bits and pieces for him! Lacking space, I have not got a permanent workshop and certain tools I dream about are not part of my collection. Not to worry, I already know a lot about DIY and I have a high-tech profile that I hope will guide you in your decisions!

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