Guide to home security

Home break ins often occur because of opportunistic thieves. By following some simple home security guidelines, you can reduce the risk of your home being targeted.

How can you protect your home?

Check your locks are fully secure

There are many different kinds of lock, and some are more secure than others.

Mortice locks Rim locks Multi-point locking Additional security bolts
Mortice locks fit into the door itself. Five lever mortice locks are recommended by Secured by Design, which is owned by the Association of Chief Police Officers. Rim locks (sometimes known as Yale locks) are attached to the back of a door and lock automatically. Multi-point locks are held closed by two or more hooks and bolts. They can be harder for burglars to manipulate. Additional security bolts make it difficult for doors to be forced open. They’re a popular choice for patio doors.

It’s a good idea to make sure all gates, sheds and garages have secure locks on them too, as these can be prime targets for thieves.

Consider installing an alarm

Alarm systems can be very effective at deterring burglars. There are many different models available, but the Metropolitan Police recommend that you choose a system that meets British Standard 4737/BS EN 50131.

Audible only Automatic dialing alarms Remote signalling alarms
Sets off a loud and unpleasant alarm designed to scare burglars and notify your neighbours. Sets off an alarm and makes an automated call to the police. Sets off an alarm and sends a message to a monitoring office who will then contact the police.

Install security lighting

Motion-sensor security lights can also be very effective. A bright light makes it easy to see when someone approaches your home and can make burglars reconsider their break in attempt.

Security lights are useful in high risk areas. These include;

  • Areas that aren’t overlooked by neighbours or visible from the road
  • Patio doors
  • Flat roofs
  • Back doors

What other measures should you take?

Ensure your home and contents are adequately insured

The right home insurance policy could help to protect your belongings in the event of a break in. Make sure you keep your insurance provider up to date, as additional security devices such as an alarm system could reduce your premium.

Register valuables and mark them with a UV pen

Make a note of serial numbers on items like smartphones and laptops. You could also consider marking high risk belongings with a UV pen. This makes it easier for them to be returned to you if they’re found by the police.

Keep your keys out of sight

Keys or other valuables can be very tempting to thieves when left by a door or window. Reduce the risk by keeping them out of sight.

It’s also not advisable to hide spare keys in common spots, such as under the doormat. These are the first places a burglar will check.

Be careful when letting strangers into your home

Burglars sometimes pose as visitors to your home, such as tradesmen or utility company representatives. Be wary of callers who turn up unannounced, and always ask for ID. 

If you live in an apartment with a buzzer entry system, don’t let anyone into the building unless you know they’re meant to be there.

Take protective steps when going on holiday

Your home could be at particular risk when it's left empty. If you're going to be away for more than a few days, you may want to some take protective steps.

  • Ask a neighbour to park their car in your driveway
  • Use a timer to turn on lights and a radio during the evening
  • Get a friend or family member to house sit
  • If you're going to be away during the summer, ask someone to cut the grass while you're gone
  • Use the Post Office's 'Keep Safe' service to stop post and newspapers piling up

Taking some of these simple steps can stop your home from looking empty, even when it is, making it less likely to be a target for thieves.

For a more thorough look at best practices for home security, check out our Home Security Guide(PDF 698KB).

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