18 Dec

Home security options: effective ways to protect your property

A burglary or break-in can be devastating, both financially and emotionally. We take a look at some effective ways you can safeguard your home and family belongings.

When planning home improvements, we can so easily get swept up in the excitement of interior design and aesthetic upgrades to our properties that important factors, such as effective home security, can often fall by the wayside.

Locking up

Most insurance providers will require all locks to outside doors and windows to conform to the British Standards (BS). This means they are deemed ‘thief-resistant’ and should display a British Standard kitemark on the product itself as evidence.

Image via: lockrite.org

All Westbury Windows and Joinery products are independently tested by a third party UKAS accredited test centre to current British and European Standards. Entrance door products are rigorously tested in accordance with PAS24:2012 “Enhanced Security Performance Requirements for Doorsets and Windows”, a nine-stage mechanical and physical assessment. You can find out more about our testing processes here.

Our entrance doors are factory hung on heavy duty butt hinges and completed with either a standard or heritage multi locking system, and lock cylinder to ensure we meet the highest security standards and help you maximise your home security.

Of course, there is little point in having superior security locks if they are rarely in use. What’s more, it could invalidate your insurance if a burglar enters your home through an open window or unlocked door, therefore it is vital to ensure all windows and doors are securely locked before you leave the house and when you go to bed in the evening.

Additional security measures

As well as investing in and maintaining the security of your windows and doors, there are several other measures you can take to minimise the threat from intruders.

Install alarm system

A home alarm system or CCTV security can be a highly effective deterrent for burglars. Just the sight of an alarmed device on your property can be enough to ward off opportunists. Many modern alarm systems now automatically alert your local police in the event of an intruder, and therefore can be invaluable for protecting your home. While the initial purchase can be expensive, home insurers often offer a discount on premiums if you have an alarm system installed, so it may also save you money as well as stress in the future.

In fact, smart home security technology is becoming increasingly popular, particularly video doorbell systems. These innovative devices use WiFi connectivity to stream live video footage to your phone and even create a two-way intercom system so that you can communicate with the your visitors whilst you’re away from your property. Not only is this incredibly convenient, it also offers an elevated level of protection.

Improve boundaries

Maintaining your garden is not just an aesthetic exercise, it can also help protect your home.

Overgrown hedges and bushrows can provide the perfect concealment for lurking intruders so ensure any foliage in your garden is well kept and trimmed back where possible. Incorporating prickly plant varieties such as the thorny red pyracantha or a hedgerow of traditional Christmas holly is likely to discourage intruders from entering your garden for fear of injury.

Opting for loose gravel over paved outdoor flooring will also help make your property less appealing to opportunists as the small stones are more likely to produce a crunching sound underfoot and alert others to any unexpected visitors.

Don’t forget to secure your outhouses and garages; these buildings are a sitting treasure trove for potential burglars as they often contain expensive garden equipment, tools and bicycles, some of which could even be used to break into the main property.

Lighting solutions

It is a popular misconception that burglars usually operate at night. In fact, statistics show that most burglary attempts take place during the daytime when homeowners are more likely to be out at work. However, as the winter nights draw in, this presents a much wider window of opportunity for burglars as there is less chance of detection. It is also this time of year that many of us visit family and friends for the festive season, leaving our homes vacant for longer periods of time.

Ensuring your home is well lit at all times will make it a far less appealing target for burglars. Installing motion activated security lights outdoors that raise awareness should anyone be loitering close to your property is a pragmatic step. What’s more, if you have neighbours close by, they will be able to pick up on any unusual activity whilst your home is unoccupied. For some lighting inspiration, take a look at RHS Gold Medal winner Andrew Fisher Tomlin’s expert advice on how to lighten things up in your garden.

There are a range of smart lighting solutions available for inside the home too, for example, home automation systems that enable you to control your indoor lights remotely. That way, when the winter afternoons begin to draw in; or if you’re heading out for the evening, you can simply turn your indoor lights on from your mobile device, giving the illusion that there is someone at home.

Alternatively, timer switches can be attached to plug sockets around the house allowing you to programme plug-in light sources – such as floor lamps and decorative lighting – to switch on automatically at a scheduled time.

Running a security check of your home each season is a great way to ensure you property is sufficiently protected all year round. Taking the time to inspect the condition of your security measures and making a few minor improvements where necessary will bring you invaluable peace of mind, and could save avoidable expense and heartbreak further down the line.