The first thing you should do when you move into a new house is to replace the current locks to your home using a vetted, inspected and qualified locksmith.
Ideally replace locks with a patented or a restricted locking system, do make sure you pick the correct lock though. Patented keys carry legal protection, preventing copies being made without providing proof of ownership, while restricted keys are unlikely to be copied due to their unusual design and unique mechanical features. This means that extra keys can’t be made without your knowledge and previous owners or tenants do not still have access to your home.
In addition, when patented keys are stolen or go missing, the existing key can be deleted from a locksmith’s key code database, the lock re-configured and new keys issued, ensuring that lost or stolen keys no longer work.
Although initial investment in these locking systems might be a little higher than off-the-shelf locks, as long as you have the original key and any official copies, there is no chance of additional sets being in circulation and you can save money on replacement locks if reconfiguration is required.
You can buy patented or restricted locks from a member of a recognised trade association. Systems vary in price dependent on security level required, the amount of locks changed, the need for additional security handles and labour. An expert will be able to offer advice on which system best suits your needs and will ensure any locks are installed correctly.
Change the code of any alarms as soon as you move in and only give out keys and alarm details to people you trust. Regularly changing your alarm code and ensuring spare copies of keys are returned is also vital, while it’s imperative not to store keys in seemingly safe places such as under doormats.
Adding alarms, door chains, spy holes, and top/bottom bolts will also boost security, while sensor lights or dusk-to-dawn lighting deters intruders and help you gain access to your home late at night.
It is also important to check the locks on your windows and make sure you consider emergency escape routes when you are positioning furniture or installing new windows and doors.
In the garden make sure all tools and ladders are safely stored away in locked garages and sheds and cut back any bushes or hedges that obstruct view and burglars could hide behind.