Home Security Survey

It can take very little time for a thief to gain entry into your home. The trauma of your home being ransacked and your possessions being stolen or damaged is devastating.

Insurance can ease the financial burden but not the mental anxiety which follows. It is for this reason that you should do all you can to prevent a burglary in the first place.

The use of good quality locks, together with simple common sense measures will deter the majority of thieves.

Most thieves are opportunists looking for an open window or poorly secured door usually during the day when occupants are at work or away. Taking simple yet effective steps to improve your security will discourage thieves from choosing YOUR home as their target.

Most, if not all, insurance companies have a minimum level of security they expect policy holders to maintain if their insurance is to be valid. Below is a guide to help you check that your home security meets those requirements.

Below are the main types of doors or windows your home may have, simply click on each to see what the requirements are.

Main External Doors

1 Main External Door

Main doors which allow access into your home these include front doors, back doors and doors from integral garages.

These doors should be fitted with either:

A mortise dead lock of 5 or more levers which complies with BS3621.
Another suitable lock complying with British Standard 3621
A 3 bolt multi point locking system.

If you live in a FLAT or MAISONETTE which is above ground level the lock on the door must be capable of being opened quickly in the event of a fire. Locks are available that conform to the latest BS8621 standard. This is the same as BS3621 but allows escape at all times.

If the door is less than 45mm (13/4 inches) thick the locks described above may not be suitable. Please consult reputable locksmith if unsure.

Windows

All ground floor windows (including fanlights and skylights) and accessible windows on other floors, e.g.near drainpipes or adjoining single storey extensions to be fitted with key operated locks or bolts with detachable keys.

  • Louvred glass is not a secure form of glazing where the window is accessible from the outside and they should be replaced.
  • If the windows are UPVC or aluminium the manufacturers multi point locking device or locking handles are often acceptable

Double External Doors

These doors should be fitted with:

Key operated locks or bolts (either morticed into the door itself or mounted on the surface) at the top and bottom of the first closing leaf, the bolts shooting vertically down into the sill and up into the lintel
AND either: A mortice deadlock complying with the latest British Standard 3621
OR A rim automatic deadlock complying with the latest British Standard 3621 (i.e locks automatically when the door is shut but is also lockable by a key from the inside)

OR If the door is UPVC or aluminium the manufacturers multi-point locking device is often acceptable provided it has a minimum of 3 locking points

Patio Sliding Doors

These would need to be secured by a hook mortise lock and external lockable bolts top and bottom.

if the door is UPVC or aluminium the manufacturers multi-point locking device is often acceptable provided it has a minimum of 3 locking points.

Garages / Outhouse

These must be fitted with a mortice deadlock and/or a padlock and padbar/hasp and staple, the padbar/hasp and staple must be bolted through a secure good condition mounting point.

Where possible try to fit a BS3621 mortise lock.

Security Tips

1. Install and use locks following the Recommended Minimum Standard of Security as detailed. Never leave keys in the lock hanging inside a letterbox or hidden outside the home.

2. When upstairs avoid leaving doors and windows open downstairs.

3. Don’t leave small valuables, money, handbags, wallets and purses where they can be easily seen from outside.

4. If you go out in the evening leave a light on in a living room or bedroom. Leaving an outside or landing light on is not sufficient, the home must look lived in.

5. Never leave ladders or tools lying around, these will encourage an opportunist thief.

6 Close and lock all garages, sheds and other outbuildings.

7. Join a local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme or consider starting one in your area.

8. Don’t let strangers into your home unless they give you official proof of their identity. If you are suspicious, telephone the company concerned for verification while your caller waits outside behind the locked front door.

9. Remember to cancel milk and newspaper deliveries before you go on holiday and ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your home and leave a spare key with them.

10. Keep a record of your possessions, for example the serial numbers of televisions and video recorders, and use a security marker which writes in invisible ink to mark your postcode and house number (this ink can only be read under ultraviolet light).

11. Take photographs of jewellery and any other valuable or unusual items. Photographs are an enormous help to the Police for identifying stolen property and returning it to the rightful owner.

Before Leaving Your Home Unattended:

  • Put all security devices into operation
  • Close and lock all windows
  • Remove keys from locks and put them out of sight

Other Security Measures

The following are unlikely to be part of your insurers Minimum Standard of Security but do provide valuable additional protection.

1. Security Lighting

Passive infra red lighting activated by movement deters burglars as well as giving useful lighting to the owner. Ideally this should be fitted at the rear and front of a house.

2. Door Viewer

A wide angled door viewer fitted into the door allows you to see callers before opening the door.

3. Door Chain or a device that restricts opening

A strong sturdy door chain or an opening restrictor allows you to identify callers from within the protection of your home.

4. Time Switches

These give the appearance that the house is occupied even when it is not, i.e lights can be switched on and off at preset times.

5. Intruder Alarms

There are various types of intruder alarm signalling methods, the installer will advise the most appropriate for your home. If you do have an alarm installed always set it when your home is unoccupied. Alarms give valuable protection but are no substitute for good quality locks on doors and windows.

Sometimes insurance companies require an intruder alarm with an annual maintenance contract by an approved installer as a condition of providing cover. In such circumstances they will require sight of the system design proposal for approval before installation goes ahead.

6. Safes

A safe can be used to protect smaller valuables such as jewellery and small items of silverware. There are two main types of safe, freestanding and underfloor.

A member of reputable locksmith will advise on the best type for your circumstances. Safes are good additional protection but are no substitute for good quality locks on doors and windows.

Sometimes your insurers may require a safe as a condition of providing cover. In such circumstances they will require sight of the safe specification for approval before installation goes ahead.

7. Gun Cabinets

All guns and ammunition, where required by law, should be stored in line with the latest Home Office guidelines and within gun safes/cabinets conforming to the latest BS7558 standard.

We hope that you have found this brief guide useful. Click on the logo below for a full more detailed guide to home security prepared by the Master Locksmiths Association.

Of course here at Southwest Locksmiths we are happy to advise and help with all aspects of home and business security.