Our Home Security guide tells you 18 quick tips on how to best keep your home secure, such as improving door & window lock security, how sash jammers work to how a poorly fitted lock can lead to break-ins.
The main security advice for your home is to speak to a local MLA licensed locksmith with regards to the security products that you have fitted to your doors and windows.
Top 18 Home Security Advice and Tips
In terms of some general security tips then we’d suggest the following:-
1. Door and Windows Security
Ask a locksmith to review your door and window security (including internal doors to conservatories and garages) to make sure all windows and doors have the most appropriate locks:
- Are they in good condition
- Properly fitted? – incorrectly fitted euro locks can lead to lock snapping
- And meet your insurance requirements
Poorly Fitted Euro Lock
The lock below has been fitted incorrectly and this leaves the lock vulnerable to attack and therefore the property at risk.
Add Anti Snap Locks to your front & back doors
Do your front and back door have Anti-snap locks fitted? They can protect your euro lock cylinder from being a victim of lock snapping.
Although you must make sure you have the correct size and lock standard fitted to be truly anti-snap.
Price: The cost of an anti-snap lock is from around £50 excluding fitting.
Upgrade Your Door Handles
Consider upgrading your door handles, read our best uPVC door handle guide for more about the standard of door handle to fit along with the benefits and costs.
2. Upgrade your Locks to BS3621 British Standard
Have your home locks upgrading to BS3621, a standard which most insurance companies require your locks be fitted to.
To check you have BS3621 locks fitted click here our guide also tells you the pros and cons of these type of locks.
BS3621 is a British Standard where locks are tested against common burglar techniques such as drilling and picking.
Locks that can be upgraded to this include Mortice Locks, Night Latches ( Yale Locks ) and Rim Cylinder locks.
If you live in a block of flats or apartment the standard BS8621 is recommended which allows anyone to exit in an emergency without needing a key.
Please see our types of door lock guide here if your confused about what door lock you have.
3. Sash Jammers: Protect UPVC Doors & Windows
You may also want to install top and bottom bolts on French doors or add sash jammers to UPVC doors or windows.
Our expert guide to sash jammers here will tell you everything you need to know.
- Sash Jammers STOP a door or window from opening.
- Easy to fit and cheap
- Can also be fitted to Wooden doors and windows.
Price: Sash Jammers are relatively cheap, expect to pay from around £10 for a sash jammer.
4. French Door Security + Patio Doors
Before adding additional security any French doors should have the following standard of lock and/or handles fitted:
- Lock Cylinder should be approved to SS312 Diamond (or at least 3* Kitemark)
- Door Handles should be approved to SS301 Bronze or TS007 2*
Patlock Stops Burglars Opening Door
If you have French or patio doors you may want to consider adding a Patlock which ensures the door cannot be opened by holding the internal handles in place.
A Patlock prevents the external handles from working even if the lock is snapped and the burglar tries to open your french doors.
The benefits are:
- Easy to fit in seconds
- Requires no keys or codes
- Police Approved (Secured By Design) and Neighbourhood Watch recommended
Price: The cost of a patlock for your french or patio doors is from around £50.
5. Digital Door Viewer
Sees who’s at your Door before you open it with a digital door viewer.
The advantages of a digital door viewer and common features on most viewers are:
- Easy to fit and install in a new place or existing door
- Easy to remove if you move
- Motion sensor
- LCD display
- HD video and image recorders
Take it further with video/audio intercoms
Ideal for apartments and flats where you can find out who’s at the front door and remotely allow them access.
Maybe of use to the elderly who can converse with visitors without having to leave the comfort of their living room for example.
6. Door Chains
Another way to check who is at your door before opening is by fitting a door chain.
There are now door chains available for uPVC and composite doors which are very simple to fit and not expensive, they can prevent distraction burglaries.
We recommend making sure your door chain is “Police Approved” which means the chain is accredited by Secured By Design.
Price: The cost of purchasing a Police Approved door chain may be from around £20 but you may want to consider getting it professionally fitted.
7. Letterbox Security – Prevent “Fishing” add a Letterbox guard
Adding a letterbox guard (letterplate) can help prevent letterbox fishing where criminals try to remove your house keys through your letterbox.
- Prevents letterbox fishing & lock manipulation (opening door lock through the letterbox )
- Letterbox guards can be fitted to uPVC, wooden and composite doors.
We recommend that any letterbox guard is approved to TS008 standard.
Price – Letterbox guards that are accredited to TS008 can cost from around £30 to purchase, excluding fitting.
8. Security Grilles or Bars to protect Windows
Side windows in a house can be smashed to reach keys and gain entry so consider adding reinforced glass or maybe even block up the window.
Decorative grilles and bars can also vastly improve the security of a home without being detrimental to the aesthetics.
Types – There are various types of security grilles from fixed to collapsible.
Difficulty to fit – We recommend get fitted by an expert
Benefits– ideal way to add extra security and stop people breaking a window and being able to gain entry through it.
9. Remotely Accessible CCTV Systems
A remote CCTV system is an effective way to keep a watchful eye on your property while you’re not there.
Advantages of a Remote CCTV System
- Some can be remotely viewed either via Internet access or by smartphone.
- Some alarms can notify you when the alarm is activated, allowing you to check what’s going on in your home.
Don’t confront intruders if you notice them
The only thing worth highlighting is that you shouldn’t confront any intruders you see via your remotely accessible security and should simply notify the police.
For guaranteed police response you will require a professionally installed and monitored alarm system
10. Security Alarms – Regularly Change The Code
Installing a Burglar alarm can be very effective but you need to change the code regularly to gain maximum benefit from them
Please read this guide on the type of burglar alarms from Which
11. Front and Back Door Sensor Lighting
Dusk to dawn or sensor lighting to the front and back door of your home will deter potential thieves and help you gain entry into your home in the dark
How easy to fit – we’d recommend they are fitted by a professional locksmith.
Benefits – helps keep areas light when motion is sensed. Burglars don’t like the light as they don’t want to be seen. They also help you when you get home in the dark.
BONUS TIP: Ensure you place a light timer upstairs in your property, which are covered next.
12. Install Light Timers
Consider installing a number of light timers around the house so it appears someone is home, as opportunist thieves can often approach houses that look like nobody is at home
Easy to fit – Light Timers are usually easy fit as they simply plug into power socket without any need for complications installations.
Benefits – can make it seem like the property is occupied
13. Home Security Safes – Hide Your Valuables
Home safes are becoming increasingly popular too, so you may want to consider asking a specialist locksmith to specify and install a security safe.
Fireproof safes are available so you can store important documents such as a passport, drivers license and digital media.
Rating of safe – A locksmith can advise on the rating of safe you need as well.
Ensure you purchase the correct rating of safe and ensure it’s professionally fitted as this will dictate the amount of cash/jewellery covered by your insurance company.
Insurance Approved Safes
Look for independent approval such as the AIS logo or Sold Secure approval when purchasing a safe, as this usually automatically means the safe is insurance approved.
Please reading this guide on safe ratings explained for more help.
14. Replace Your Keys or try ‘Keying Alike’
While you are reviewing your security it is also worth considering when your keys were last replaced.
Do past owners or tenants may still have access to your home? and has anyone may had copies of your keys made without your knowledge.
a) One Key for all your door locks = Keying Alike
So you only have one key for your front and back door locks consider having your locks keyed alike, this means if you ever lose your keys you will only have to replace one key.
b) Keys Cannot be copied = Patented Keys
Prevent anyone from copying your keys by fitting a patented system, this means keys can only be copied with proof of ownership.
If you are worried ask a professional locksmith to change your locks.
15. Garden Shed Security
Make sure you source a good quality lock to protect your garden shed and its contents if you have one.
Sold Secure Approved Padlock
Use a Sold Secure approved padlock, that is independently tested against numerous criteria, to prevent break-ins.
Shed shackle on wooden sheds to stop entry
A shed shackle can prevent items from being stolen during break-ins on wooden sheds.
Chain the items you want to keep safe (e.g. power tools or bikes) to the shed shackle to keep them safe (using a Sold Secure approved chain and padlock)
Don’t Forget – Review the Exterior Of Your House
Start by reviewing the exterior of your property to make sure there are no broken windows or access to your property through garages or conservatories.
Lock any tools and items such as ladders away.
We recommend viewing our home security visual guide which has been recommended by Neighbourhood Watch in the past.
16. Car Keys are at Risk in the Home As Well
Statistics show that thieves are increasingly breaking into homes to steal car keys so don’t make it easy for them by leaving keys in view
If you have lost your car keys we recommend the cheapest and fastest way is to use the services of an auto locksmith.
Read our article on Keyless car theft here if you have a keyless entry car
17. Common Bad Habits
Consider your own influence on the level of security for your home and make sure you don’t indulge bad habits such as leaving keys in locks or in view that you and your family may have.
Simple tips to remember
- Setting your alarms
- Changing alarm codes on a frequent basis
- Lock any side or back gates
- Take the key out of your locks
18. Use an MLA Licensed Locksmith
Take a note of the number of your nearest MLA licensed locksmith by visiting the find a locksmith section of this site, and put the number on your mobile phone.
All MLA Approved locksmiths are:
- 1. Fully Vetted by ourselves with background checks
- 2. Inspected on a regular basis
- 3. Fully qualified having passed and taken the MLA Exam
If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being locked out of the house someone will be able to help you get in out of the cold as soon as possible.
Using an MLA approved locksmith ensures that locks and security equipment are fitted correctly and safely in accordance with current standards and regulation.
Home Security Guidelines
More details on domestic security guidelines can be found in the MLA’s Minimum Security Guidelines, a document that was started by the Association of British insurers but then taken over by the MLA and continuously kept up to date.