Advice guide - Home security
Home security checklist
Most domestic burglaries are committed by opportunist thieves looking for the easiest way of getting into your home without being seen or disturbed.
Look at your home through the eyes of a burglar. Are there places where a burglar could break into your home without being seen? How would you get in if you had forgotten your keys? If you could get inside, so could a burglar.
Follow the advice on this page to help secure your home.
During the winter
- As the nights get darker earlier, leave a light on inside your home. Remember to choose low energy lamps.
- Use a timer switch to operate the lights as it starts to get dark. Change the times that the lights come on to simulate an occupied home.
- Make sure your front door is well lit. Use dusk to dawn lighting that automatically comes on as it gets dark.
- Make sure you keep your doors and windows locked at all times.
Windows and doors security
- When you go out, always close and lock external doors and windows, even if you are just going out for a short time.
- Fit a five lever mortice lock (British Standard 3621) to all exterior wooden doors. If you are having new windows and doors installed, ensure they are certified to British Standard 7950 (windows) or PAS 24 (doors)
- UPVC or composite doors have multi-locking systems, but it is strongly recommended they are fitted with an anti-snap lock cylinder (TS007) of 3* standard as a minimum
- Window locks can be seen from outside and could deter a burglar from forcing the window
- If you have deadlocks, use them. They make it more difficult for a thief to get out again. But don’t leave the key near the door or in an obvious place nearby
- If you have a flat roof extension the windows above it should always be locked
Keeping keys safe
- Ensure your keys are kept in a safe place out of sight and well away from your letterbox
- Don’t tag keys so they can be easily identified
- Keep all spare keys in a safe place
- Don’t leave spare keys outside or in a garage or shed
- Consider buying a safe for personal papers, passports and small items of jewellery. This must be secured to the floor or a wall
Security outside your home
- Never leave garages or sheds unlocked, especially if they connect to your property
- Visible burglar alarms and carefully directed security lighting can deter burglars. Make sure alarms stop sounding after 20 minutes and lights don’t disturb your neighbours
Living in a flat or shared housing
- Consider having a phone entry system fitted to the main door of your building
- Never buzz open the door for strangers, or hold open the door for someone you don’t know
- Get home contents insurance
Going on holiday
- Suspend any deliveries, such as milk and newspapers
- Ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your property
- Try to make your home look occupied while you are not there Use timer switches on lamps or your radio
Marking your property
Below are some examples of how you can mark or register your property to ensure it is returned to you if it is ever stolen.
Ultraviolet or invisible marking
It can only be seen by an ultraviolet lamp, although it does fade over time and can be washed off eventually.
Suitable for hard surfaces by engraving or etching.
Tracking for laptops and smartphones
These can now be traced if stolen by using online tracking software, which is usually free. Search online and register your laptop or phone.
Know your IMEI number.
- If you don’t have an intruder alarm installed, we would suggest that you consider having one installed. Intruder alarms may prevent intruders from breaking into your home as a visible deterrent. Alternatively, if an intruder does attempt to break into your home the alarm activating may scare them off.
- If you are considering buying a new intruder alarm, it’s a good idea to obtain at least three quotes from industry approved installers (NSI or SSAIB) or talk to your insurer who may have some recommendations.
- You can also use the Trading Standards website Buy With Confidence website to check for vetted suppliers in your area.
There are three types of Intruder Alarm available:
- Monitored alarm - If the system is breached, a monitoring station informs the key holders and Police within minutes.
- Audible only alarm - If activated, an alarm sound will alert your neighbours.
- Auto-dialling alarm - If the alarm is activated, the sound will alert your neighbours and the system will dial a series of telephone numbers.
Be a good neighbour
If you see anyone acting suspiciously in your neighbourhood, call the police on 101 or, in an emergency, 999.
Get more advice on preventing many crimes on our crime prevention guides page.
Speak to our Crime Prevention team
To speak to our Crime Prevention Unit about protecting your property and reducing your chances of becoming a victim of crime, email firstname.lastname@example.org