Home security - 10 essential tips to protect you

The opportunist burglar is looking for the easiest opportunity. It’s time to think like a burglar and protect your property. Below are 10 home security tips to consider.

Home security tips

1. Close all windows and lock external doors

Whether it’s the external doors to your house, or to your flat, it’s important not to forget to close and lock them. The same goes for all windows. Whilst this might sound obvious, it’s easy to forget. Especially with any back doors and windows on warm summer days.

Not only should you close your doors, even if you’re in, you should ensure they’re closed properly. With doors with two locks, do engage both locks. On modern doors, this usually involves first lifting the door handle and then turning the key. Do test the door before leaving to ensure it’s properly closed.

Extra security tip:

Don’t leave your keys near the front door if you have a letterbox. The thief will fish the keys out and enter. This also goes for car keys, garage keys and handbags. Whilst less common nowadays, don’t leave your keys hidden under the doormat or flower pots.

2. Choose correct external doors and locks

Ensure your front door complies with the current British security standard (PAS 24: 2016 accreditation) and check that your door/locks are approved by your home insurance policy wording. A high percentage of burglars make entry through the door, so now is the time to research and ensure yours is up to a good standard.

Make sure your locks are of British Standard, check for the Kite Mark icon. For maximum security, choose a cylinder lock (Euro Cylinder locks being the most common nowadays) that is ‘platinum’ (3 star) rated. This will protect against known attacks, such as picking and snapping.

Do make sure any locksmith you use is registered with the Master Locksmith Association.

Extra security tip:

If you have just moved into a new property, change the locks – all of them. You don’t know who still has a key cut for the door. Also this is important regarding your home insurance.

3. Secure windows

Windows should be closed and in good condition. Consider a ‘Sash Jammer’ which is an inexpensive security addition for UVPC windows. They help against prying attacks, with tools such as crowbar. There are other window options, such as sash window stops and keyed locks.

One-way privacy glass can be used to stop people peering through the windows, a cheap version of this is by putting privacy ‘film’ on the windows. Or consider shutters, angled blinds or frosted windows (especially on garages).

Extra security tip:

If you live in a high risk area, fixed security bars or even a sliding grill will be beneficial on windows. Do not display your calendar on a wall near the window – a thief will love to view it and see when you’re on holiday.

4. Set your home alarm

If you have an alarm, do set it when you leave. Many advanced, modern day alarm systems are connected to mobile apps, which will notify you if the alarm goes off (also your selected contacts and even the police, depending on the type).

A decoy/dummy alarm box on the outside of the building with a flashing light provides a clear message to potential burglars.

If you live in a house, alarm systems often let you alarm zones of the house. So when you go to bed, you can arm the downstairs of your house.

Is your bike stored in a shed or garage? Then these locations can also have intruder alarms.

Extra security tip:

Sometimes alarm security companies provide a window sticker. Do pop it in a window, as it shows potential thieves that you’re serious about security.

5. CCTV and smart lighting

Some smart doorbell cameras and CCTV that are triggered by movement, both in daylight and night-time are useful ways to monitor your property. They also provide really good criminal evidence for the police, should anyone attempt or manage to break into your property.

Lighting and cameras are sometimes are part of one unit with modern solutions. With traditional security lights (wired, battery or solar), do make sure they are well positioned, ensuring they cover at risk spots, such as side windows.

Extra security tip:

Timer switches for lamps and ‘fake TV simulator lights’ are cheap to buy from DIY stores. They give the appearance you’re in the house, but do conceal these lights from prying eyes looking through windows.

6. Shed security

Close shed doors when not in use and avoid leaving items on display, by concealing windows. Consider alarms, CCTV and security lighting. Ensure hinges can’t be undone from the outside and make sure the door is well locked.

Ensure items inside are securely locked, bike locks should be ideally secured to a high quality ground anchor.

Read our shed security guide.

Extra security tip:

If your shed is flimsy and is not well secured, when you move into a new property, and you own an expensive bike, do take the bike inside whilst you upgrade the shed.

7. Garage security

In a similar way to sheds, do avoid advertising your prized bikes, or other possessions, by closing garage doors whilst you are inside or working outside. Especially if the garage is visible from a road. As this will encourage thieves to return for a closer look.

Just like the doors on your house, ensure front garage doors are to British Standard, as well as any side doors. If you have a side door with a window, make sure potential thieves can’t peer through.

Read the garage security guide.

Extra security tip:

If you have bikes in your garage, consider covering them up. There are custom made covers on the market, if not an old sheet or tarpaulin should be sufficient.

8. Garden

Your garden is your first line of defence, if you’re lucky enough to have one. As per the garden security guide, you should consider the perimeter, which includes what plants to have, fencing and/or walls. Any side gates should be well constructed, locked and ideally covered by a security light.

Don’t store bikes on display in the garden. If you don’t have a wooden garden shed or garage, then consider purpose built bike storage. The best types are notably approved by insurance and the police.

Extra security tip:

Anything left around your garden could be used as a tool for entering your home, so do hide or put away anything that could be used (a ladder for example).

9. Don’t advertise your address or holidays on social media

Avoid posting photos outside your new home (or even the keys, which could be used to copy) when you move in. Often the photo will show the number of your property or rough location, and the rest of your social media might give away the rest of your information (including what you own and what you’re up to).

Don’t post photos online when you’re on holiday, or advertise that you’re about to go on holiday.

Extra security tip:

Whilst on holiday, do avoid online shopping. To avoid packages left on your doorstep. But if you do, notify a trusted neighbour to collect. The same goes for post on your doormat, if visible through your letterbox – especially if you’re away for an extended period.

10. App GPS privacy settings

For cyclists, check your privacy settings on ride sharing apps. Ensure your home address, or even nearby location, is not visible to the public. Especially important if you display photos of your bike on the account, or on linked social media accounts.

Extra security tip:

If you’re followed home do take extra precautions. Even an extra lap on your bike around the neighbourhood for extra peace of mind. Ensure your bike is well secured when at home, just like you would when out and about.

Read the staying safe online guide.