Lymm Net

Crime Prevention

Put yourself in the burglar's position. How would you get in if you were locked out? The chances are that a burglar will use the same route!

How attractive is your home to the burglar? Look at the checklist on this page and see how many vulnerable spots you can identify in your home's defences.

If there's no one in all day, and your home isn't overlooked, you'll need to take particular care. The majority of burglaries take place during daytime - not at night, as many people think, and the intruders often get in downstairs at the back. In many cases a burglar can be in and out in just a few minutes.

Securing Your Home

If you have recently moved in find out who has got the keys. Consider changing the locks or having them re-levered.

Contact the installer of any existing alarm system, the number can often be found on the bell box or control panel, and ask them to check it over.

To secure your home against the opportunist burglar who steals cash and valuable items, which are on view.
  • Check locks of ground floor doors and windows.
  • Check that upstairs windows over-looking flat roofs or balconies have locks
  • Check the garage doors are locked.
  • Check the security of shed doors and windows.

If you live in a flat or maisonette you should also check the main communal entrance security and the security of sky lights.

Not surprisingly, detached houses are more at risk than semi-detached or terraced properties. This is because they are often secluded, and neighbours may not be able to see or hear burglars at work. Houses or flats near ends of streets or backing onto alleyways, parks, fields, or waste ground are also particularly at risk, because of the ease of access. Walls, fences and shrubs around the garden may give you greater privacy, but they also enable the burglar to work unnoticed. Patio doors give you a good view out, but they can provide an easy way into your home.

The important thing is that you should be aware of the risks that you face and take all the necessary precautions.

Nothing Worth Stealing?

Remember that, in most cases, before burglars enter a home they don't know what they'll find to steal. The burglars assume you have something they want, and once they're inside they'll find something to make the risk of being caught worthwhile.

It may be cash or jewellery, TVs or videos, computers, cameras or antiques. These days even the contents of an average home freezer are often worth a second look to a thief, especially if it is unlocked.

Look around your home - if you value your possessions, the chances are the thief will as well.

The top ten items on the burglar's shopping list are money; jewellery, chequebooks and credit cards; computers; cameras; silverware; video recorders; televisions; hi-fi equipment and antiques.

Dos and Don'ts

  • Do: lock all your doors and windows when you go out. Pay particular attention to the rear of your premises - a popular entry point for burglars.
  • Don't: leave door keys in hiding places, such as under the doormat or in a flowerpot. Thieves know all the hiding places.
  • Do: fit good quality rim and/or mortice locks to all external doors; use a 'deadlock' on the front door. Use mortice security bolts or key operated door security press bolts on the top and bottom of both solid wood and glazed back doors.
  • Don't: leave a window open a few inches for the cat to get in or out. Burglars find this very useful too.
  • Do: keep your shed and/or garage locked. Your tools are useful to the thief who wants to gain entry. If your garage has a communicating door with the interior of the house, secure it as another exterior door.
  • Don't: leave ladders lying around. If you must keep them outside, padlock them to something secure so you are the only person who can use them.
  • Do: close the curtains and leave a light on in a room (not the hall) when you are out for the evening. Remember also to close curtains when you are in, so that the burglar cannot see where you are.
  • Do: leave a radio on - with a talk programme on rather than music
  • Don't: leave curtains and blinds drawn during the daytime; they attract the thief.
  • Do: illuminate dark areas around your home. Remember burglars hate light.
  • Don't: leave 'back soon' notes on display. Burglars love a written guarantee that the house is unoccupied.
  • Do: make sure that your house and contents are insured.
  • Don't: forget to mark your valuables with your postcode/house number, and to display a sticker showing that you have done so. Marked property is less attractive to the thief and is harder to dispose of. Photograph all items of high value, record serial numbers of televisions, video recorders, cameras etc. Have a ruler in shot so that the size can be gauged of the object.

As many as two-thirds of all burglaries take place through windows, especially those at the back on the ground floor. Shutting them helps but it isn't enough. Often a burglar will break a small pane, and then reach in to open the catch. So how can you make it more difficult?

First of all, fit locks to all windows on the ground floor and those, which can be easily reached, from flat roofs or drainpipes. If you haven't got window locks, you can buy them (they're not expensive) from locksmiths, hardware stores, DIY stores and builders merchants. They are effective because even if the glass is broken, the window can't easily be opened, and a burglar won't normally bother to take out all the glass. It takes too long, makes too much noise and increases the risk of being caught. Buy locks which secure the opening sections to the main frames.

Patio doors should be fitted with extra security locks, top and bottom, and anti-lift devices, which prevent doors from being lifted off the rails.

Louvre windows are particularly vulnerable because the glass slats can be easily removed. If you have this type of window, gluing the slats to the frames with strong adhesive (epoxy resin not superglue) will make it far more difficult for the burglar. There are special locks available too.

All doors, but especially outward opening doors should have hinge bolts fitted. For the best protection on front main doors you should fit a security deadlock which preferably conforms to BS 3621 look for the British Standard Kite Mark if you're not sure. Most insurers now require locks to BS 3621.There are two basic types: a mortice deadlock, which fits into the door, and a deadlocking rim lock, which screws onto the door. The latter may be preferable if the door is thin, as fitting a mortice lock could actually weaken the door. Consider fitting 44mm thick doors or a lock guard kit.

Security deadlocks can be operated only with a key, and a burglar cannot open the lock by breaking the door glass and then reaching in to turn the handle. And, of course, if a burglar gets in through a window a deadlock will prevent him from simply walking out of the door with your valuables.

When fitting locks to main doors, care should be taken as to their position on the door. Ideally the turn lock should be a third from the top and the mortice two-thirds from the top. This helps spread the load should any body pressure be exerted on the door. The weakest part of any door security system is the locking post so fit a London Bar. This is an inexpensive and proven device.All exterior doors should also be fitted with three hinges; this will necessitate only an extra hinge being fitted half way between existing hinges where there are only two existing.

Don't forget that strength can also come in numbers (but not too many), so it's advisable to fit strong bolts top and bottom of all external doors you don't normally use as your main entrance or exit. Use a key operated mortice security bolt if possible, but if you fit a surface-fixing bolt make sure it is a strong one and well screwed in. And once fitted, always remember to use them. When choosing a locksmith you should ensure that the locks and bolts they supply and the quality of their installation reach British Standards specifications BS 3621. This will mean they meet the requirements of your insurance company.

For advice on the selection and installation of locks and bolts, you can consult a member of the Master Locksmith's Association.This organisation is pledged to uphold a high standard of workmanship and ethical conduct, offering peace of mind to clients employing its members.

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Page last updated: Thursday, 13 January, 2005